Fayette County

Lexington FOP moving headquarters to suburbs

An unfinished office and retail building next to the former restaurant bought by the FOP is near completion.
An unfinished office and retail building next to the former restaurant bought by the FOP is near completion.

After 60 years of meeting in the same building at 224 North Martin Luther King Boulevard, the Lexington Fraternal Order of Police has bought a building in the suburbs and will move its headquarters in the next several weeks.

The FOP will move to 1097 Duval Street, off Tates Creek Road past Man o' War Boulevard, the former Summit Restaurant building.

"We're shooting for our first meeting in October to be there," said Mike Sweeney, president of Bluegrass Lodge 4 of the FOP and a detective in the Lexington police department's residential burglary unit.

The FOP bought the building for $1.2 million in April in bankruptcy proceedings against James Nuti and Nuti Developers, Sweeney said. Work is under way to renovate, redecorate and add many updates, he said.

A new hall is a dream come true for the 920-member police lodge. Sweeney, a 27-year member of the Lexington police department, said members have talked about a new building "as long as I've been here."

The building on Martin Luther King was built in 1950 for the FOP. It is 5,000 square feet and listed for sale at $560,000. It is zoned business, Sweeney said.

Two years ago, he appointed a search committee and told them to contact a Realtor and "get serious" about looking for new quarters.

The Duval Street location was built as a farmhouse and in recent years was the site of Emmet's restaurant, which closed in 2004. Local restaurateur Wayne Masterman opened Summit Restaurant there in May 2008. The Summit closed about 18 months later, a victim of foreclosure proceedings against Nuti, according to a news account at the time.

The property was sold by the master commissioner of Fayette Circuit Court on Oct. 26, 2009, for $1.07 million to the bank that had financed its purchase, PBI Bank of Louisville.

The 8,800-square-foot building attracted the lodge not only because of its size and versatility, Sweeney said, but also because it is on the south side of town, close to where many members live.

"I hope to increase attendance at our monthly meetings" with the new location, he said.

He said the large kitchen and gracious first-floor rooms might make it desirable to rent for parties and wedding receptions. In fact, the FOP has already had inquiries from people about renting the house for special occasions, Sweeney said.

Adjoining the parking lot is a 32,000-square-foot office and retail building, started by Nuti Development, that has been sitting unfinished for about two years. It was bought, also in bankruptcy proceedings, by Brett Construction, and that company is finishing the building.

Calls to Brett Construction were not returned.

A small building immediately behind the restaurant at 1093 Duval houses offices for Donnelly Lea Architecture + Design. Paul Lea said he and his business partner, Kenny Donnelly, bought their building from Nuti in 2008, "right before everything went into bankruptcy."

The FOP hall, the architects and office building share a parking lot.