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Bricks and Mortars

Flint sees potential
in former Lodge building

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

MADISON, Ind. (January 2003) – A prominent downtown Madison historical building will soon get a makeover. Louisville financier and developer Michael Flint recently purchased the former Lodge Home Furnishings building, which he plans to convert into retail and residential space. The front of the building will be restored to closely resemble its original architectural style, Flint said.
Flint, 37, is a Madison native. After graduating from high school, he attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where he earned a degree in political science. In 1987 Flint traveled the presidential campaign trail for candidate Richard Gephardt and subsequently moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for various members of Congress for the next decade.

Mike Flint

Mike Flint

Flint said he loved being employed in the political arena but that “10 years was enough.” In 1998 he moved to Louisville and purchased a home in the downtown historic district, where he currently resides part time. Flint also operates his own business, The Flint Group, with headquarters in Louisville.
When he’s not in Louisville, Flint stays at his farm in Jefferson County, Ind. The farm, Flint said, is one of the oldest in Indiana and was a major tourist attraction at the turn of the century featuring cabins, a hotel as well as one of the largest caves in the state. Flint purchased the farm, located between Kent and Deputy, in April 2000 from Opal Nix and is working to restore it. Flint said that he typically spends two or three days there each week, which allows him to oversee his developments in the area.
Most of Flint’s income is derived from financing, primarily that of public works projects. Development, he said, is more of a sideline. “I don’t golf, so I do development,” Flint said.
He most recently finished building a Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch in Lawrenceburg. Redevelo-pment of the former Lodge building is Flint’s second project in Madison. He also developed Rivertrace Apartments on Broadway. That project cost more than $3 million, he said.
The success of Rivertrace, which consistently has a 100 percent occupancy rate and a waiting list to get in, motivated Flint to tackle a second redevelopment project in Madison. Flint said that he was approached by many people looking for housing in downtown Madison after Rivertrace was filled.
Those inquiries stemmed mostly from people in three categories: those with a second home elsewhere, those who currently own homes in the Madison area but would like to move to a no-maintenance dwelling and corporations looking for corporate apartments.
Flint said he thinks his latest project will satisfy a demand for housing downtown and offer many benefits such as a convenient and safe location. Flint says the development will ultimately benefit downtown Madison by increasing foot traffic in the area.
Vibrant downtown areas, Flint said, help attract more corporate business to cities, something that Madison could definitely benefit from. “Downtowns are important to companies. They don’t want to see empty buildings,” Flint said.
Scott Lynch, a friend of Flint and the Realtor who handled Flint’s purchase of the Lodge building, didn’t like seeing vacant space downtown either.
“I’m tired of seeing this empty building across the street,” Lynch said lightheartedly. Scott Lynch Realty is located at 416 West St., just around the corner from the Lodge building. Lynch said that he thinks the idea of redeveloping the space is wonderful.
Madison Mayor Al Huntington is also pleased with the idea. Huntington said that the work Flint did on Rivertrace Apartments is evidence of his talent and foresight.
“I’m really happy that Mike has the vision because that’s what it takes to see what this (development) could do for downtown Madison,” Huntington said
According to Flint, his vision for the Lodge building, which records indicate to have been built circa 1850s-1860s, includes a number of apartments or condominiums as well as a retail store or gallery.
Originally, the building housed Weyer’s, which sold farm implements and hardware. The building changed hands several times over the years but remained a hardware store until the early 1940s when it was purchased by Boone Lodge Sr., who, along with brother, Gavin, opened Lodge Brothers Furniture in 1946.
Flint said that he was acquainted with Boone Sr. and did electrical work for Lodge Brothers Furniture with his father, the late Gerald Flint, who was an electrician. The building, consisting of three stories and a basement, was most recently used for showcasing furniture and appliances sold by Lodge Home Furnishings. Flint said that although the building will have to be totally remodeled, it is in good condition and is structurally sound.
An initial layout study of the building reveals space for 12 residential units, which includes eight, two bedroom units averaging 1,200 square feet and four, one bedroom units averaging 900 square feet. The basement will contain storage space for occupants and office or studio space for the first floor business.
Flint said that he has not yet decided whether the residential units will be rented or sold as condominiums or what the price will be. Those factors, he said will depend upon the final cost of the project, which he estimates will exceed $1 million, and the demand of consumers. Flint said that he already has several individuals interested in buying condominiums should he decide to offer them.

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