The building that housed the iconic Spalding's Bakery for 70 years has been sold and soon might have a restaurant or bar, as its new owner hopes to build on interest in that area since Al's Bar was revitalized.
Chad Needham, who once owned Eureka Pizza locations in Lexington, is renovating the property at North Limestone and Sixth Street.
"I ended up getting it for $50,000, and everyone said, 'You got a great deal,' but I have to put another $150,000 right back into it," Needham said. "You kind of buy it over time. That's the way I look at it."
Needham hopes to be done with the renovations in about nine months. He previously renovated an aging building farther north on Limestone, near Loudon Avenue, and it now has a church in the downstairs and apartments above.
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He plans to lease out what was the bakery downstairs for a restaurant or bar. The remaining part of the property would be two apartments.
"I believe in the neighborhood," he said. "Limestone is a great street."
Needham, 37, recalled that when he attended Transylvania University, North Limestone was beginning a sort of renaissance with the renovations of the buildings that now house Atomic Cafe and Third Street Stuff.
"I thought the goal would be to try to figure out what would be hot in the next 15 years," he said. "I'm just trying to make an investment a couple corners down."
And it's a corner that is benefiting from the revival of Al's Bar, the seedy-chic establishment across the street with live music and more.
"My goal in seeing their vision is to continue and build upon that," Needham said.
His building had been vacant since the bakery closed in late 2004 after longtime operator James Spalding was pistol-whipped during a robbery.
The family's famous doughnuts became a thing of legend until Spalding's niece, Martha Edwards, reopened the bakery on Winchester Road in 2006.
Spalding owned the building with his sister Joyce Leverett, who is Edwards' mother and works at the new bakery.
Spalding said the two decided to sell the aging former location because "we did not need the building, and it was just sitting there slowly deteriorating."
He said he and Leverett just did small repairs over the years "trying to keep it from leaking."
"I was 8 years old when we moved into the building. My sister was 5 years old. We were raised there in the building," he recalled last week. "We worked in the building all of our lives."