Pikeville's former train station building at the corner of Hambley Boulevard and Huffman Avenue will have its next tenant soon.
Pikeville Economic Development Director Jill Dotson told the News-Express that an upstart business, Sol Good Bakery, has entered into a lease agreement with the city to locate in the currently unoccupied former train station building. The building was most recently a coffee shop, but has been sat unoccupied for months.
The city began seeking proposals for the lease of the building in July. Dotson said finding a tenant for the building was a top priority for the city, given its location near both of the city's downtown hotels and its proximity to the University of Pikeville.
"We wanted it filled," Dotson said. "We knew there was a big need to have the right business there to serve everyone in our city. It's near both of our hotels and it's directly across from the university, so it was really important for us to get that space filled."
Sol Good Bakery will be operated by Jessica and Michael Phillips, and Dotson said the business will be a "true bake shop," offering baked goods, quiches and light lunch items. Sol Good was one of nearly a dozen proposals received by the city for the space, Dotson said, with nearly 30 people expressing interest. She said the Phillips' business plan includes a desire to "create a sense of community in that space" with hopes of providing a space for book clubs and community meetings, as well as space for musicians to perform.
"They really had a strong vision and a fantastic business plan for what they wanted to do," Dotson said.
Dotson said Sol Good Bakery's projected opening date is Nov. 25 in order to take advantage of the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday shopping events.
Dotson also said the city is hoping to find space in the downtown for the other businesses that submitted proposals, but which were not ultimately chosen.
"We want to have businesses occupying all of the spaces in downtown," Dotson said. "There were so many great ideas, varying ideas, that we would be thrilled to have any of them in downtown. We expressed to those businesses, 'Let's not let the conversation stop here.'"
Sol Good will lease the building for $1 per year for the first three years of operation and a graduated rent schedule will be used after that initial three-year period, Dotson said. She said the initial lease period is five years.