Danville’s historic Hub building sold

Published 9:04 am Thursday, December 28, 2017

New owner plans to keep current tenants

The building known as the Hub in downtown Danville has been sold to The Malcolm Bryant Corporation. The company intends to keep all the building’s current tenants.

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The historically significant property at the corner of Third and Main streets currently houses the Hub Coffee Shop, the Centre College Bookstore, the Spine Center of Central Kentucky and Edward Jones in an annex on the back of the building, said Madison Silvert, president of The Malcolm Bryant Corporation. 

The company purchased the building from Farmers National Bank; it announced it had closed on the purchase Wednesday, according to a news release.

“We’re just excited. Once we figure out a market we want to invest in, it really is about improving the quality of life,” said Silvert, a 1998 Centre College graduate who said he remembers when the building was still the Hub Frankel department store in the 1990s. “… We want to go in and make an impact — this will hopefully be the start of our investments in Danville.”

According to a news release from the company, “The Malcolm Bryant Corporation is a leader in providing full-service real estate development and property management in Kentucky and Indiana.”

The company owns and manages around 1 million square feet of “commercial office and light industrial space” in 12 locations, in addition to “residential units and three Hampton Inns.”

“In 2014, Malcolm Bryant, as CEO and then president of The Malcolm Bryant Corporation, and (Silvert), as then CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, were an integral part of developing Owensboro’s growing, thriving downtown space,” according to the news release. “Bryant built the Hampton Inn & Suites Waterfront, which was Hilton’s Development of the Year, and was instrumental in development of the Owensboro Convention Centre, while Silvert, a certified urban planner, was instrumental in developing Owensboro’s downtown master plan.”

Bryant stated in the news release that when Silvert was named president of the company earlier in 2017, “we asked him where we should go next. He said that we needed to invest in a community with a strong higher education presence, that was business friendly, and had a downtown that could be a regional center of excellence. Without hesitation, he said that Danville hit all of those notes. He has a passion for Danville, and now, so does our whole company.”

Silvert said Danville is a “community that is really on the precipice of greatness” with a “downtown that is ripe for revitalization.”

“When we choose a community in which to invest, we do so very carefully, and with the intention of helping that community build great places, so that it can be the best that it can be,” Silvert said. “We won’t accomplish that by investing in one building alone. We hope to assist the community in future development as well. This is an investment in Danville, not an investment in real estate.”

Silvert said there is still “a little space left” open on the second floor of the building and “the third floor is open.”

“We’re working on some concepts on what we might do there,” he said. “… We have some idea about what we might do there.”

Centre College President John Roush and Economic Development Partnership CEO Jody Lassiter also provided statements in the company’s press release.

“I look forward to working with Madison and The Malcolm Bryant Corporation. It is wonderful when our students come back to Danville to make a difference,” Roush stated.

“I have known Madison for several years now and have recently gotten to know Malcolm, whose reputation throughout the state for quality development is already well-known,” Lassiter stated. “They genuinely see an opportunity to help build this community, and I look forward to working with them on future projects.”

The property bought by The Malcolm Bryant Corporation has housed numerous businesses over the years, most notably the Gilcher Hotel and the Hub Frankel department store.

The southeast corner of Third and Main streets was home to the Gilcher Hotel in the early 1900s, but the building famously burned to the ground in 1914. According to news archives, the Gilchers went on to construct a building for the Hub Frankel department store on the corner. A new Gilcher Hotel, sometimes called Hotel Gilcher in old newspaper advertisements, was opened in 1917 in the space east of Hub Frankel.

The new Gilcher Hotel closed in 1963 due to lack of business, according to news archives. The Hub Frankel department store closed on July 19, 1995, after the Frankel family and the owner of the building couldn’t come to an agreement on a lease, according to archives.

An agreement was signed in 2001, naming the building the William H. McAnly II Youth Memorial Building, according to news archives.

“This is in memorial to William H. McAnly II and other young people of our community whose abilities, activities and achievements made us proud and who passed away while in the prime of their lives,” a dedication plaque on the building reads.

McAnly was a 21-year-old EKU student when he died in a car wreck in October 1980, according to news archives.

The Hub Coffee House and Café has been open in the first-floor corner of the building since 2005.

“This building is probably one of the most significant downtown buildings in central Kentucky,” Silvert said.