A vision for downtown living, commerce

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Bobby Andriot is passionate about downtown Shelbyville.

Having been born on Clay Street and spending most of his youth in his father's clothing stores on Main Street, Andriot said he has a vested sentimental interest in the viability of downtown.

Andriot, who became a commercial real estate associate with Alton Webb and Associates a couple of months ago, said one of his goals in life is to see downtown Shelbyville revitalized. And the way to get there, he said, is to do everything he can to promote downtown living and commerce.

"There is just so much potential here," he said. "It really is just such a beautiful area."

In order to raise awareness about the real estate potential of downtown, Andriot and his colleges at Alton Webb hosted a public informational meeting May 8.

The event, which was held at the "Pink Lady" at 721 Main Street, was designed to give community members a sampling of the commercial real estate properties that are currently available downtown.

Andriot said the Pink Lady was a good example of what could be done with downtown property. The second floor of the newly renovated building is now being rented out as two apartments. Andriot hopes the first floor, with its open spaces, high ceilings and refinished hardwood, will be converted into an Italian restaurant.

"The possibilities are endless," he said.

Andriot said downtown Shelbyville is loaded with potential commercial development.

Locations such as the second floor of the Ruby Rooster building opposite the courthouse, Andriot said, could renovated and used as an apartment or possibly and assembly hall.

"You just need a little bit of imagination to get you there," he said.

Another location that is prime for renovation is the Blue Gabbles apartment complex. Andriot said those apartments could be turned into shops or nice apartments.

He said with gas prices getting close to $4 a gallon, living and shopping downtown could be a promising option for many in the community.

Many visitors who come to Shelbyville, come for beauty of Main Street between 11th and 3rd streets, he said. And if some of the buildings that are in disrepair are renovated, he said more would come.

"If we continue to develop that area, who knows what would happen," he said.

Andriot isn't alone in his desire to see downtown revitalized.

In recent years the city of Shelbyville has been stepped up its effort to preserve and promote the downtown area. Andriot said the city of Shelbyville has done a great deal to help support the businesses downtown.