One of Ashland’s empty downtown buildings will soon be partially occupied, city officials announced Thursday.
In August, Kings Daughter’s Home Medical Equipment will relocate to the bottom floor of the former Sears building at the corner of Winchester Avenue and 17th Street.
The business is currently on 35th Street in the former Heck’s building. It will move all of its operations to downtown Ashland, said KDMC spokesman Tom Dearing said.
Dearing said he did not know what would replace the business at its 35th Street location.
Dearing said the business, operated by the hospital since 1998, should be open by late August. Nineteen employees work at the store, which sells a variety of medical equipment, from wheelchairs and oxygen concentrators to wigs and orthopedic shoes.
Business hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The building, owned by Perry and Susan Madden, has been vacant for many years. “We’re glad to see it happen. It has needed someone for a really long time,” said Perry Madden.
He described the lease with KDMC as long-term, noting the business has also rented the parking lot alongside the building.
The Maddens, who have owned the building since 1990, had tried to develop its upper floors into apartments. Even after securing tax credits to help defray the expense, the cost remained prohibitive, according to Perry Madden.
He said although there are no definitive plans at this time for the remaining floors of the Sears building, having a tenant, “will definitely help get other tenants in the building.” He said ongoing exterior renovations, along with those to the interior of the first floor, would also be completed in the coming months.
The Maddens own a number of other downtown properties, including the Camayo Arcade, now undergoing renovations, and The Henry Clay House, which is also being renovated.
The announcement this week was also described as “positive” by city officials, who in 2010 condemned the structure and threatened to have it torn down. The building was saved when the Maddens agreed to perform a number of immediate upgrades to stabilize the facade and replace upper floor windows.
“We have movement. We are excited by that,” said Mayor Chuck Charles at Thursday’s city commission meeting.
Economic Development Director Chris Pullem praised KDMC’s decision to locate downtown.
“When we needed a partner to help preserve one of Ashland's most historic downtown buildings, KDMC accepted the call,” said Pullem, adding, “By making this investment in Ashland’s downtown, KDMC has confirmed what we already knew — whether it’s commercial investment or residential development, downtown Ashland has re-emerged as our region’s central business district.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by phone at email@example.com.