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Developer eyes Hilliard Lyons Center for hotel

Key --

1. A Florida businessman plans to buy the former Hilliard Lyons Center at 501 S. 4th Street. (Bottom right bldg.?)

2. Renovations for the 250-room Embassy Suites should begin soon and last about a year. The estimated cost of the project, including the purchase of the property, is between $30 and $34 million.

3. The current owners, PNC Financial Services Group, asked $9.95 million for the 97-year-old building. The purchase price is less than the asking price.

Article information: "Developer eyes Hilliard Lyons Center for hotel, By Alex Davis, The Courier-Journal, Monday, April 2, 2007"

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^ Follow up.

Fourth St. landmark may become a hotel

Key --

1. Purchased for ~$10 million.

2. It will take ~1 year to renovate it into an Embassy Suits that will cost $15-$20 million.

3. A fitness center, offices and retail are being considered as part of the project.

4. For much of the 20th century, it was home to The Stewart Dry Goods Co. department store.

Article information: "Fourth St. landmark may become a hotel, By Alex Davis, The Courier-Journal, Tuesday, April 3, 2007"

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Blooming blocks on Main

Includes map of all the new developments.

Key --

1. Main Street has numerous neglected structures -- visible from the 'faded ironwork facades, boarded-up windows, crumbling buildings'.

2. A $450 multipurpose arena complex (at 2nd and Main) and a $50 million retail/office 'sports-anchored' complex (101-119 W. Main) will set the stage for a larger revitalization for a part of Main that was home to the city's whiskey businesses.

2a. More specifically, the section of Main between the Louisville Slugger Field and the proposed arena.

3. This is a trend already becoming reality -- with the $27 million Fleur-de-lis project and the $12 million Preston Pointe condominium complexes -- nearing completion.

4. Two other buildings considered prime for new development...

4a. Seven-story Arctic Ice building at 217 E. Main is under contract -- according to Walter Wagner Jr. Company who is marketing the building.

4b. The five-story former warehouse at 231 E. Main on the north side of Main is for sale.

4c. A pub at 123 W. Main will open in March 2008. It was formerly the home of Schoch Heating Supply Co. The arena announcement boosted the price of the property from $136,000 in 2004 to $600,000 in 2007. A banquet facility will be on the second floor. Other uses may include a sports bar accessible from Washington Street -- considered as a promenade leading to the new arena.

5. At 110 W. Main, the former Belknap Garage building is a planned mixed-use retail/restaurant site.

Article information: "Blooming blocks on Main, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, Monday, April 9, 2007"

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I thought I had a thread on the 21c Museum Hotel somewhere, but can't find it via search.

Museum hotel idea to expand

Key --

1. The Museum hotel idea is expanding, with 15 more planned.

2. When the 21c Museum Hotel opened in the spring of 2006 in downtown Louisville, there was uncertainty as to how the guests would react to the lobby, hallways and restrooms resembling a contemporary art gallery.

3. The room's rates average a little less than $200/night; the average downtown rate is $103/night.

3a. On weekends, local residents fill more than half of the 91 rooms.

3b. The occupancy rate is ~72%; the average downtown occupancy rate is 56%.

4. The new 21C Museum Hotels will cost about $30 million each and include a restaurant that is modeled after Proof on Main.

Article information: "Museum hotel idea to expand, By Alex Davis, The Courier-Journal, Monday, April 16, 2007"

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Two Projects Show It's Not a One-Horse Town

Notes --

1. Two development projects are projected to generate more buzz year-round.

2. Downtown Louisville has been undergoing a transformation in recent years, adding thousands of residential units and opening attractions such as the Muhammad Ali Center. Churchill Downs has also kept up with the times, adding suites that have annual lease rates of $185,000.

3. Two new projects include a 'boldly designed' $465 million mixed-use project that will include a contemporary-art museum, hotels and condos. An arena that will be used by UofL is also moving ahead.

4. The two projects above come as a time when Louisville is transforming from a manufacturing economy to one based on knowledge. It is home to Humana Inc. and Yum! Brands. Non-farm growth increased 1.9% in February, above the national 1.5%.

5. UPS also stated it would invest $1 billion to expand its Worldport air hub at Louisville International Airport.

"The goal is not just to have Louisville be a place where people come for two weeks, but a place to come year-round."

--Barry Alberts, executive director of the Downtown Development Corp.

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The Henry Clay

Old hotel renovated for many uses

Notes --

1. The Henry Clay, a mixed-use restoration project at Third and Chestnut Streets, is filled with life after nearly 20 years of abandonment. Restoration cost $20 million; work began in 2005.

1a. The eight-story building was built in 1924 as the Elks Athletic Club and was operated as the Henry Clay Hotel from 1928 to 1968. It then became home to the YWCA until 1986 when it moved elsewhere in the downtown. The city then took the title to the building.

1b. Nearly 6 groups tried to redevelop the building over 20 years before Bill Weyland stepped in. He designed the Louisville Slugger Museum and developed Glassworks. He partnered with 15 others on the Henry Clay project.

2. All but one condominium is sold, the retail space is 100% filled, and a theatrical group has scheduled its first performance. The event space is rented regularly for receptions and other activities.

2a. There are 11 condominiums that are all on floor 8. They are all but sold (exception of 1), and cost $189,000 to $340,000. The condos have spiral stairways that lead to a glass-enclosed rooftop deck.

2b. There are 33 apartments, 11 each on floors 5-7, that rent from $600 to $1,200 a month. 21 are rented currently and all should be occupied by July 1.

2c. A gymnasium is being converted into the new home for the Bunbury Theatre at 145 seats. The first performance is scheduled for July 18. They plan to have five plays a year, and have the space rented out to nonprofit agencies. Bunbury has been without a permanent home since its old place at Seventh and Main Street was converted for the 21c Museum Hotel. It raised $400,000 to renovate the former hotel and has a 20-year lease.

3. Businesses include the Road to Morocco, a boutique that offers Moroccan decor and gifts. Dooley's Bagels will open around the beginning of June, and an art gallery called Kentucky Back Roads will open by July 1. A deli will open by Labor Day. These are all ground floor tenants.

4. Another "companion project" is the renovation of the historic Wright-Taylor Building behind the Henry Clay on Fourth Street. It will feature a two-level Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar in a sailboat, and will open in the fall.

Article information: "Old hotel renovated for many uses, By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, May 23, 2007"

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Urban areas see biggest gains in property value

Notes --

1. Property values in many inner-urban neighborhoods, especially those close to downtown, are seeing large increases. This is because, per developers and government officials, of private investment that has followed through when the government initiates public incentives and financing to build new housing and remove blight.

2. One instance of this is the Russell neighborhood. 17 years of urban renewal have brought about a surge of property values - 113% increase from 2000 to 2006, from $18,065 to $38,500. More than 500 homes and apartment shave replaced abandoned lots and buildings. Some are rented to families on government subsidies, but others have sold for more than $400,000. Developers in this neighborhood received tax credits to build low-income rental houses; others were allowed to buy city-owned lots for $1.

2a. Part of this stemmed from a U of L project in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood in the mid-1990s. A federal government housing grant was used to buy some new housing.

3. In some areas, like Park DuValle, where there is a lot of new development, property values can spike - 241% jump in six years, from $26,540 to $90,500. This is because $100 million in government funds were secured to tear down public projects and replace them with mixed-income housing and apartments. Another $100 million came from private sources.

3a. Phoenix Hill, just east of downtown, also posted a large gain. Others, with 75% gains, include California, Portland, Old Louisville and Shively.

4. Overall median residential property value rose 32%, from $83,790 to $110,380 in six years.

Article information: "Urban areas see biggest gains in property value, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, June 5, 2007"

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Humana giving free rides: Company will pay for its employees to use TARC buses

By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, June 27, 2007

Humana announced today that it is providing free TARC bus rides to all 8,500 downtown Louisville employees, due to the high gasoline prices and concerns about air pollution.

Under the deal, Humana is paying the Transit Authority of River City $175,000 a year to let its workers ride TARC buses, any time, anywhere, for free -- if they show a Humana employee ID card. The $175,000 is roughly what Humana had been paying previously annually to buy bus tickets that it distributed to workers who agreed to not take up space in the company parking structure. While it is hard to compute the cost of providing the service to Humana, if TARC loses money, the annual payment may be adjusted for 2008.

The new bus program has been in effect since June 1, and now at least 400 Humana employees are riding the bus most work days. Some employees are doing it to save gasoline, wear-and-tear on their vehicles, and for personal reasons (environment, global warming, etc.). Ridership is also up, where some rides are now standing-only.

Mayor Jerry Abramson will join Humana officials in announcing the program today at 10:30 at the Kentucky Center, where he is (was) expected to say that commuting is a factor in traffic jams, pollution from vehicle emissions, and global warming.

"There's a better way. And Humana employees have discovered it."

Humana is following the lead of the city, which in mid-2005, it struck a deal to pay TARC about $90,000/year to allow all metro employees to ride for free. Metro employees logged 17,000 rides in May, an increase of 17% over May 2006. The mayor is now challenging other businesses, large and small, to set up similar programs for their workers. TARC is also making the same pitch to local companies.

Humana is the first corporation to sign a deal offering employees free TARC rides, but at least 20 other companies and agencies offer different types of aid for employees who take the bus. Many of the agencies and firms buy tickets and give them to employees, or discount the cost of the tickets. One such company is E.On. U.S., who has been fully reimbursing employees the cost of riding the bus to and from work for the past 15 years, although not many take up the offer. The Galt House Hotel and Suites offers its nearly 500 employees reduced prices on bus tickets that it purchases from TARC, but it is considering a program similar to Humana. U of L has paid TARC $400,000/year to let all of its students ride the bus for free.

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Major expansion of 4th Street Live planned: Owner leases part of Starks Building

By Alex Davis, Courier-Journal [Louisville], July 2, 2007

The owners of 4th Street Live in downtown Louisville have fully leased the first floor of the adjacent Starks Building as part of the first major expansion of the entertainment hub since it opened three years ago. Officials with The Cordish Company will announce today that they plan to add restaurants and retail shops to the ~25,000 sq. ft. first floor of the Starks Building at 4th Street and Muhammad Ali Blvd. The investment will be around the tune of $6 million, and should open within one year. The project should revitalize the building, whose retail shops "bottomed out" in recent years; the cafeteria in the basement closed around 2006. Other tenants in the building that still are there include law firms and medical practices on the upper floors. Seng Jewelers, one of the main tenants on the ground floor (and one remaining on 4th Street since the early 1950s), will remain at the current location.

The building dates to 1913. When it was purchased last year, 45% of the space was leased, or half of the occupancy rate from the early 1990s. The assessed value of the 14-story building had fallen to $12.5 million from $17.6 million in 1998.

The 4th Street Live tie-in is expected to create additional momentum for leasing efforts. More than 4 million visit the 300,000 sq. ft. 4th Street Live complex annually

Mayor Jerry Abramson said that the project will help connect 4th Street Live with a larger proposed retail complex at the Louisville Water Company block along Third Street. City officials have identified Cordish as one of the leading candidates to develop the water company block. The city currently has options on the 6.2-acre block, and hopes to have an agreement with a developer within the next 12 months.

Other development projects for the downtown include the $50 million office and retail complex along East Main Street between First and Second, called Iron Quarter. Last week, a developer announced plans to turn the old Vermont American plant on Main, across from Louisville Slugger Field, into shops, offices, and a micro-distillery. And a developer will buy a building later this month at 501 S. Fourth Street (Hillard Lyons Center) and spend as much as $30 million to renovate it into a hotel, with offices and retail.

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^ I wouldn't mind personally seeing some nice apartment complexes constructed just south along what was once a burgeoning residential district. It's kind of fallen on the wayside, especially since development accelerated along the riverfront.


Loft project opens on Market: Effort continues area's development

By Sheldon S. Shafer, Courier-Journal [Louisville], July 23, 2007

Forty-two condominiums are now ready for occupancy in the $10 million Mercantile Gallery Lofts development at Market and Floyd Streets in the East Main-Market corridor near the Louisville Slugger Field. Within the past three to four years, there have been numerous restaurants, galleries, and market-rate housing that have opened in the area.

Since the marketing began on the development last month, eight units have been sold. The units range from $179,000 to $400,000, which does not include the $850,000 penthouse (still available). The common area features a theater room, billiards and poker tables, a fireplace lounge that can be reserved, a fitness center, laundry, and an open-air courtyard.

The development included the restoration of two major structures that were combined -- the former five-story OEM Building (circa 1933) and the former four-story Rosenbaum Building (circa 1880). A third smaller structure that was once a warehouse operated by Brinly-Hardy, a lawn-equipment company that provided land for Louisville Slugger Field, moved to southern Indiana. The building, built around 1960, is the development's parking garage. A delay in construction was caused by the partial collapse of the old Charnette Building (circa 1900) that collapsed in 2005.

The Charnette Building has three floors and approximately 9,500 sq. ft. of space and is located at the corner of Floyd and Market. The original plan was to develop the building for four or five condos, but now it will include retail on the ground floor and offices on the upper two floors. Restoration work on the building should be complete by mid-September.

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Downtown public housing, retail project unveiled

By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal [Louisville], August 2, 2007

Map of the location.

On August 2, city officials announced a $3.5 million mixed-use development at Broadway and Shelby Street as part of a city-wide effort to replace the public housing units lost when the Clarksdale Homes were demolished. The three-story building will contain first-floor retail and 22 apartments on the upper two floors, which will consist of a mix of public, subsidized, and market-rate apartments. The cost of the project will be covered by the city's share of federal grants and other funds being used to build Liberty Green, a mixed-use housing developement on the site of the former Clarksdale housing project.

The Louisville Metro Housing Authority bought the land for $1 from the city's land bank and demolished the former Broadway Meat Store.

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Plan addresses traffic, housing, industry: Hearing planned for master guide

By Sheryl Edelen, The Courier-Journal [Louisville], August 22, 2007

Louisville city officials will soon unveil a master plan outlining long-term improvements to an area south of Broadway, between Old Louisville and downtown. The area, known locally as "SoBro," short for South of Broadway, is a L-shaped neighborhood bounded by Interstate 65, 9th Street, Hill Street, Kentucky Street, and Broadway. It is considered vital due to its location north of the University of Louisville.

The task force recommendations include,

1. Convert one-way streets to two-way.

2. Create bicycle and pedestrian paths.

3. Encourage institutions along Fourth Street to consider joint parking arrangements.

4. Focus on housing developments with public and private money.

5. Create mixed-income housing along 5th and 6th streets between York and Kentucky streets, except for Ben Washer Park.

6. Create an organization or agency dedicated to the neighborhood's development and improvement.

7. Create of a Green Development Zone program that would provide incentives to build "green" or environmentally friendly buildings in SoBro and other areas of the city.

8. Redevelopment of the neighborhood's dogleg, which stretches to Hill Street between Seventh and Ninth streets, from heavy industrial to a mixture of housing, retail and light industrial.

When Old Louisville first drew its boundaries for its neighborhood plan in the 1970s, the "dogleg" was originally left out because it was largely industrial. If the recommendations are approved, the development guidelines will apply for the next 10 to 20 years.

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Developers selected to build Liberty Green project homes

By Sheldon S. Shafer, Courier-Journal [Louisville], September 8, 2007

Two developers, who have been part of prior significant downtown projects in Louisville, have been chosen to build as many as 380 condos and single-family homes in the mixed-use Liberty Green project. The Housing Authority of Louisville pocked companies headed by architect Bill Weyland of Louisville and Holly Wiedemann of Lexington to develop most of the remaining land available in the project. Weyland was the architect and lead partner in the redevelopment of the old YWCA building and the Glassworks project, and was also the designer of the Louisville Slugger Museum and baseball bat plant. Wiedemann redeveloped the old YMCA and is developing the Artek Lofts project in downtown Lexington.

The new condos and homes will complete the redevelopment of the former Clarksdale public housing project into a new neighborhood that will serve downtown, the medical center, and the burgeoning Main-Market cultural corridor. So far, about 120 rentals have been built, and 100 of them are currently occupied.

Construction on the first 18 condominiums along Hancock Street between Jefferson Street and Muhammad Ali Blvd. could be underway by year's end and be complete by fall 2008. The condos will sell for $120,000 to $300,000, with the initial units to be three-story rowhouses. The plans call for one-floor flats on the ground level, and two-story townhouses above, and will include patios and exteriors of stone and brick. Owners will be able to choose the facade design, the number of windows, and colors and materials.

Financing is coming from federal tax credits and low-interest loan money from a city housing fund. National City Bank has agreed to provide mortgages on some of the initial housing to the buyers at 1.5% below the prevailing market rate.

The first phase will include approximately 160 condos in nine clusters along Hancock, and cost $20 million to construct. They should be fully occupied in three to five years. It will also include two four- or five-story mixed-use structures, one on the northwest corner and one on the southwest corner of Jefferson and Hancock, and will have retail, medical office and condo space.

Plans for the second phase of the housing, slated to go on the west side of Shelby between Jefferson and Ali, also is uncertain, but will include an additional 220 units and be built from 2012 to around 2017.

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Courthouse gets makeover: 2 plazas added, exterior repaired

By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, September 14, 2007

The old Jefferson County Courthouse is being restored to its former glory.

As part of phase one of the restoration project, numerous 11 large magnolias, 10 pears and 6 dogwoods others that were sprawled out on the grounds were cut -- removing the numerous starlings that called the tree home and polluted the ground with their droppings. Some trees, especially the dogwoods, had deteriorated considerably. The intent of the tree removal is to return the building to the designer's original intent: to present an unobstructed view of the building north of Jefferson Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.

In the trees place, two small plazas on the west and east sides of the courthouse were constructed and filled with colorful flowers and plants.

The city is spending $500,000, proceeds from a bond issue, to also repair the stucco on the south side of the courthouse, which houses the offices of Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson. Approximately 40% of the courthouse's exterior stucco surface has been repaired, and a coat of sealant was applied to fix problems relating to a "very porous limestone" that let water seep into the building.

During work involving the new landscaping, crews recently unearthed two bronze markers on the courthouse lawn. One has been cleaned and is now visible. One honors WHAS radio staff member Pete Monroe for his work during the 1937 flood, and the other was erected by the American War Mothers to honor the heroes of World War I.

Phase one began in spring 2006 and is winding down.

Phase two will include an additional $700,000 to complete the exterior treatment, and should begin in 2008.

The courthouse's construction dates to 1836 and proceeded in stages, with completion in 1860. The original architect was Gideon Shryock.

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Kentucky Theater to get new life

By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, September 24, 2007

Ed Lewis and George Stinson have owned the Kentucky Theater on Fourth Street for 15 years but admit it is time for change. They are converting the 1920s-era building that was once a movie theater into the Marketplace at Theater Square, and have lined up six tenants and have leased out all 12,000 sq. ft. of space available. The first three shops should open by Thanksgiving and the other three, which include a gourmet grocery store and deli, should open by early 2008.

Many businesses have been located since the movie theater closed in the 1970s at Theater Square, but Stinson believes the Marketplace can thrive by drawing customers from the nearby Louisville Palace and Brown Theatre, and by tapping into the tourist and convention traffic, downtown workers and residents. Stinson also believes that the success of new businesses and residences along E. Main and E. Market streets, and the recent redevelopment of the Henry Clay (the old YWCA) at Third and Chestnut streets, will keep the Marketplace thriving.

The "Kentucky" marquee will be restored and raised to a higher level. The front third of the building, the old two-level lobby, will feature three shops. A kiosk-style bagel shop, flower and gift store, and a wine and cheese shop will be located at the front. The back, where the stage and its 200 seats await removal, will house a bakery, gourmet grocery and a deli.

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W. Main to get more housing: Pub also planned on same block

By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, October 21, 2007

Two buildings at the northeast corner of Second and Main streets (131 and 127 W. Main) will be renovated into 32 condominiums and apartments, while a third building immediately to their east will be converted to a pub and restaurant (123 W. Main). 119-101 W. Main is the planned site of Iron Quarter, which investor Todd Blue wants to redevelop into a vibrant office and retail development; the new Arena is only a short walk across the street from the proposed development.

The three-story building at 131 W. Main was built around 1875 after the original Galt House on the site burned, and has 37,280 sq. ft. of space. The building was built for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and has 14-foot veilings and an ornamental staircase. It is assessed at $824,000, and is owned by Julie "Valle" Jones and her brother, Stephen Jones.

The developers, Joneses, also have a contract to buy the adjoining three-story building at 127 W. Main from Richard and Cynthia Weller. The Wellers operated a company there called Burwinkle Hendershot that closed last November. The company, which sold food-packaging material, had operated at the site since 1943. The building also dates to around 1875 and has 34,000 square feet of space.

The building at 131 W. Main will feature an interior courtyard; both buildings will be extensively restored. The facades of the two buildings would be preserved, as would entrances to both buildings from both Main and Washington streets. The 131 and 127 W. Main Street buildings will feature 32 dwellings on the upper floors. and include the construction of one penthouse atop each building. Street-level commericial space is planed at 131 W. Main, and ground level parking is slated at 127 W. Main. An exterior fire escape will be removed and interior sprinklers added. The street-level tenant in the 131 W. Main building will continue to be Bearno's By the Bridge. The pizza restaurant has been on the corner next to the Clark Memorial Bridge approach since 1997. The restaurant recently underwent a $250,000 renovation and also signed a 10-year lease extension.

A pub/restaurant is expected to open late next summer at 123 W. Main. The building was purchased a year ago by brothers Tom and Mike O'Shea and Dave Zimmerman. They already own O'Shea's Traditional Irish Pub and Flanagan's Ale House, both on Baxter Avenue, and Brendan's in St. Matthews. The four-story building probably will have a total of four residential units on the upper two floors and rental space for parties and private catered functions on level two, above the ground-floor pub/restaurant.

Bill Weyland is the project architect and also will be a partner in the venture. Weyland has been involved in other projects, including the Glassworks and the Henry Clay complex. The group plans on placing the two building on the National Register of Historic Places to make the investors eligible for federal tax breaks on part of the renovation cost.

Work could begin in a year and be complete by 2010, when the new arena and Iron Quarter are completed.

The Waterfront Development Corp. board of directors will review the project design later this month, and the agency's architectural-review committee has recommended approval of the design.

The only building on the north side of the 100 block of West Main for which renovation plans have not been announced is at 121 W. Main. It is owned by DKH Properties.

For the Iron Quarter project, Blue plans to renovate six buildings in the eastern half of the 100 block of West Main, plus the vacant corner lot at First and Main where an old building was demolished after a wall collapsed several years ago. The buildings feature cast-iron fronts. Blue said the cost of the project has increased to more than the $50 million announced in March.

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  • 2 years later...

The Guthrie Coke Building (Chestnut and Fourth Street, 1883) was sold for $1.2 million. Developer Bill Weyland wants to turn it into retail, office or other commercial uses on street level and 20 or more apartments on the upper three floors.


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