BUSINESS FIRST: Highland Cleaners plans ‘green’ location at former car wash site

(Excerpted from Business First, September 27,2010, written by John R. Karman III)

Work is set to begin on a “green” building at Bardstown Road and Edgeland Avenue that will house a Highland Cleaners location, office space and possibly a bagel shop or breakfast restaurant.

The site at 1401 Bardstown Road was formerly Highland Car Wash Inc.
Doric Real Estate LLC, the property holding company for Highland Cleaners Inc., bought the site a year ago for $450,000.

Michael Jones, principal of Doric and owner and CEO of the longtime Louisville dry cleaner, said he plans to invest a little more than $1 million on the two-story, 6,000-square-foot main building and a small second building that he’s calling a “discovery center.”

It will be used as an educational classroom for green construction and for general purpose community space.

The project, financed by Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co., is expected to be finished by February. Potter General Contracting LLC is the builder. Design Plus is the architect.

Jones’ development is one of several local projects bringing momentum to the green movement in Louisville. While the city is not yet considered a leader in the effort, SustainLane, an online sustainability guide, ranked Louisville No. 29 in its 2008 U.S. City Rankings, up from 35 two years earlier.

Location will serve Cherokee Triangle

The store will be the 13th for Highland Cleaners, which was founded by Jones’ father, Robert Jones, in 1944.

Michael Jones said the site will enable the company to better serve Cherokee Triangle residents who “weren’t choosing to make that drive” to the nearest Highland Cleaners location at Bardstown and Taylorsville roads.

No dry cleaning actually will occur at the store. Items will be delivered to the location at Bardstown and Taylorsville, which is Highland’s main dry-cleaning facility.

Jones is calling his project the Highland Green Building. It will have a red brick exterior and large, glass storefronts. It also will have a glass tower stairway on the southeast corner.

Jones plans to have the building certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“It’s going to be a really cool building,” he said. “It will fit right into the neighborhood.”

Holland applauds effort

Jones received advice and guidance on his project from Gill Holland, a local film producer, developer and entrepreneur who is one of the leaders of the green movement in Louisville.

He developed The Green Building on East Market Street.

Holland said the Bardstown Road project is “totally on the right track,” and he applauded a dry cleaner — not often the greenest type of business — with leading the local charge to be environmentally responsible.

“I feel like there are a lot of good things happening (here),” he said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

Condos shelved for office space

Jones envisions the second floor of his building housing a professional tenant, such as a law office or dental practice. A small first-floor space is being reserved for a breakfast restaurant.

No tenants have been signed, Jones said.

He originally planned to have two residential condominiums as part of the project but abandoned that plan, he said, largely because the condo market has “just gone to hell.”

A two-car garage had been planned to serve the condo owners, but it, too, has been eliminated from the plan to make way for the discovery center.

Going green

Michael Jones, principal of Doric Real Estate LLC and owner and CEO of Highland Cleaners Inc., said he’s planned lots of “green” features for his project at Bardstown Road and Edgeland Avenue because he wants to “make a statement” about the importance of being environmentally responsible.

But he also thinks it makes good business sense. Jones believes energy prices will continue to rise, making the added expense of the energy-efficient components of his project worthwhile in the long run.

“Five years from now, I think it’s going to be a pretty good investment,” he said.

Some of the “green” features of the Highland Green
Building include:

  • Geothermal heating and cooling;
  • rooftop solar panels;
  • rainwater captured and used for irrigation;
  • and “Greenscreen” on the east and west sides of the building. The fence-like product will allow vines to grow on the building, creating additional insulation.

At its cleaning facilities, Highland Cleaners uses a natural solvent, Jones said, instead of unsafe dry-cleaning chemicals. The company also is a proponent of “wet cleaning” technology, a more environmentally friendly form of cleaning.

Contact Doric

If you have any questions about Doric Real Estate or any of our properties, please contact

Michael Jones
2455 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205