February 4th, 2020 – By Marty Finley
An international jewelry designer intends to relocate its studio from Bangkok, Thailand, to Louisville as part of a larger commercial redevelopment.
Matthew Campbell Laurenza, founder of MCL Designs, is seeking to rezone a vacant industrial warehouse on more than an acre at 647 W. Magnolia Ave. and 1375 South Fifth St. in Old Louisville. The zoning would change from the M-2 manufacturing district to the EZ-1 multipurpose commercial district if approved.
The warehouse, formerly the Merchants Ice & Storage site, exceeds 27,000 square feet, and the property was acquired through a real estate trust in summer 2019 for $410,000, according to the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator’s Office.
Laurenza, a fine arts graduate from Bellarmine University, said in the filing that he will use the revamped space as the design headquarters for MCL Designs, which is an international fine art, jewelry and sculpture company.
The company has been headquartered in Bangkok since its launch 22 years ago, the filing states. It specializes in handcrafted jewelry, including earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, pins and cuff links, according to the MCL website.
The city filing states the company’s jewelry has been displayed in worldwide exhibitions and has been worn by celebrities. Laurenza’s work also has been featured in major fashion magazines, including Vogue.
It was not clear how much space the studio will take or how many employees will be located there. Construction costs and a timeline were not disclosed. Laurenza is out of the country this week and was unavailable for comment.
Beyond the studio, Laurenza said in the plan that he aims to open an art gallery inside the complex
“The [project] will take advantage of the soaring skylights in the center of the building with a gallery of fine art for his own work, as well as works from other local, national and international artists, including jewelry, fine art and fashion,” the filing states. “MCL will host shows for buyers from Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and many more independent fine jewelry retailers.”
Other anticipated uses for the complex is a cafe and a mixed martial arts gym that could be open 24 hours for local participants in the sport.
The full-service cafe would be managed by an outside restaurateur that could cater events held inside the building, the filing states. Laurenza also envisions an outdoor parking area that could be set up for food trucks and entertainment options.
He said in the filing that he will likely apply for a local Entertainment Destination license, and he said he could have up to three tenants with their own liquor licenses.