• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Bank, coffee shop development plans approved


THE COMMUNITY TRUST Bank building at 101 North Main Street in downtown Versailles will be renovated into a hotel and distillery, according to plans for the property. “It’s going to be great for the retail businesses,” Alex Riddle, a partner in the Richouse Hotel + Distillery project, said. “… I think it’s (going to be) a huge addition to downtown. I think it will lead to an increase in retail businesses.” (Photo by Bob Vlach)
THE COMMUNITY TRUST Bank building at 101 North Main Street in downtown Versailles will be renovated into a hotel and distillery, according to plans for the property. “It’s going to be great for the retail businesses,” Alex Riddle, a partner in the Richouse Hotel + Distillery project, said. “… I think it’s (going to be) a huge addition to downtown. I think it will lead to an increase in retail businesses.” (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Community Trust Bank, which currently has a main branch on North Main

Street, was approved to move forward with its plans to construct a new

bank building on its property at 470 Lexington Road.

The development plan for the 4,400 square-foot bank in the Woodford

Plaza was approved by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and

Zoning Commission April 8.

Planning Director Pattie Wilson said the new bank building will be

located behind the current bank, which will remain open during construction.

Community Trust Bank’s downtown Versailles branch will eventually close

and a business dubbed “Rickhouse Hotel + Distillery” is planned for the

former bank building at 101 North Main Street.

“It’s kind of the perfect experience for those people that are coming in

(Central Kentucky) for the Bourbon Trail,” said Alex Riddle, one of the

partners on the Rickhouse project.

Instead of visiting a large distillery, the Richouse Hotel + Distillery

will immerse its guests in an experience, he said.

“Our distillery’s going to be very small, very boutique, and its going

to be about the experience,” Riddle said. He described a concept of

allowing guests to taste the bourbon whiskey that they were involved in

distilling – four years earlier.

“It’s going to be great for the retail businesses,” said Riddle of a

hotel and distillery. “… I think it’s (going to be) a huge addition to

downtown. I think it will lead to an increase in retail businesses. I

think there’s too many empty storefronts right now.”

“My goal would be that this is the catalyst that helps fill all the

empty spaces downtown and creates more of a bustling … downtown,” he added.

As he’s said many times while serving as Versailles mayor, Brian

Traugott said, “Investment begets investment … And any time you see

movement like that, it just has a ripple effect in a positive way …

Investment energizes things.”

Riddle said he and his partners are applying for historic tax credits,

have secured an economic development grant and other financing, and will

also seek a conditional-use permit for the proposed uses. Fundraising

efforts are complete and equity partners are onboard, he added.

Riddle said he hates to put a timeline on the project, but “ideally in a

perfect world, if everything fits into place, we’d be looking at the end

of 2022” for a grand opening in time for the holiday season. At this

point, the hotel would have 34 rooms, but that could change, depending

on the direction this project takes, he said.

“Our goal is to maintain that historic integrity of the outside of the

(bank) building,” said Riddle. Portions of the building have different

construction dates – from the late-1800s or early-1900s to as recently

as the 1960s, he said.

Since Riddle and his partners acquired the bank property, Community

Trust has been on an 18-month lease with an understanding that if it

needed to exit the agreement at an earlier date, that would move up

construction, Riddle said.

Chantel Bingham and Barry Drury were not present at the Planning

Commission’s first in-person meeting in several months.

Biggby Coffee

The commission also approved an amended development plan for a Biggby

Coffee to locate in Equestrian Park, which is along Lexington Road

(property formerly occupied by the old Woodford County Middle School’s

gym, parking lots and athletic fields). Owners James and Carrie Cousins

said they hope to open their second Biggby Coffee location in October.

“We have one store in Georgetown, and Versailles seemed like a natural

place for our second location,” said James Cousins.

The couple opened their Georgetown location in June 2019.

Cousins and his wife, who’s from Georgetown, became familiar with

Versailles through him playing golf at the former Woodford Hills Country

Club and her running high school track in Woodford County, they said.

“I always try to find a place that I could see that a community would

accept Biggby and would jump at the chance for a different type of

coffee option,” said Carrie Cousins.

“Coffee brings people together.”

She described the Biggby Coffee franchise as being geared to customizing

what customers want in a drink – from regular lattes to cream freezes.

“Everything can be hot, iced or frozen,” she continued, “so any which

way you want to make your drink you can.”

The planned building for Biggby Coffee will have a second storefront for

another business. Both will have drive-thru lanes for their customers.

“So if another food-type of business wanted to come in, then we want

them to have the option to also have the drive-thru as well, or a pickup

window,” said Carrie Cousins.

Because they’ll also own the building, she and her husband wanted to

“open up other opportunities for different types of businesses to come

to Versailles … as long as they’re not selling coffee,” she added, laughing.

Biggby Coffee, which opened its first location in Lansing, Mich., in

March 1995, has over 240 locations in 13 states, according to its website.

“We are your neighborhood coffee shop,” she said. “… We also give back

to our communities as well. So we always try to find ways that we can

immerse ourselves into the community that we’re in and find ways to give

back where needed.”

Two businesses are currently operating in Equestrian Park, and Traugott

said he welcomed the addition of Biggby Coffee.

“I think that property’s always had the potential to be a quaint little

development that would serve the community and really serve that area

well,” he said. He said one of his frustrations has been Crossroads IGA

owning a lot there for several years, but not building a store yet.

Barrel warehouse plan

The commission approved a final development so James Pepper Distilling

Company can construct a bourbon barrel warehouse at 1150 Georgetown Road

(Ky. 32). The 18,941 square-foot barrel warehouse is the first of two

proposed warehouses for the 7-acre site.

Prior to approving the development plan, the commission approved a

preliminary plat creating lots at 1132 and 1150 Georgetown Road and a

final record plat for the properties, which are owned by the Homer

Michael Freeny Jr. Trust. James Pepper operates its distillery in

Lexington and will purchase the property at 1150 Georgetown Road.

No one spoke during the public hearing on the preliminary plat.

Agreement

The commission unanimously approved an agreement with Bluegrass

Community Area Development District to provide someone from its office

to handle an application here. Its action also accepted Wilson’s recusal

on the matter because of a family conflict related to a proposed

development on the old Graves property in Midway.

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