MOUNT WASHINGTON - What is now a vacant lot on the corner of Highway 44 East and the Mount Washington Bypass will soon be occupied by a five-unit strip mall.
On Wednesday, business men and women joined community leaders and local residents to break ground on the new development, which has been dubbed Platinum Plaza.
The man behind Platinum Plaza, James’ Jewel Box founder Jarvis James, said he expects the shopping center to be an exciting addition to the Mount Washington landscape.
With a price tag of around $1.5 million, Platinum Plaza will serve as the new home of James’ Jewel Box, which will relocate from its current location on Oakbrooke Drive once the project is complete.
Project manager Chad Whitaker of Taylorsville-based design firm Alpha Omega Innovations said the one-story facility on Oakbrooke Circle will boast 7,500 square-feet, leaving plenty of room for its tenants.
As of recent, four of the five units in Platinum Plaza are called for.
One unit will be occupied by an AT&T store and another by a dentist. James wouldn’t say what would occupy the fourth unit.
James said the project should be finished by the beginning of 2013, adding that there would be a grand opening to christen the new shopping center soon after.
“We’re all real excited,” James said.
James opened his first jewelry store in Dawson Springs, Ky., in 1978. From there his business expanded to six stores throughout western Kentucky.
The Jameses opened their current location in Mount Washington more than six years ago only a few months after the family moved to the area from western Kentucky to be closer to their church, Christian Assembly in Louisville.
James said the store has seen steady increases in business every year since it opened.
He said he’s been amazed by the success James’ Jewel Box has seen in Mount Washington, adding that many doubted the store would survive.
“You’d be surprised the people who’ve come in saying ‘I thought you’d be closed by now,” James said. “We’re not going anywhere.”
While Platinum Plaza is certainly not James’ first rodeo when it comes to business, he said it is his last.
James said he is turning control over to his daughter, Chera, and her husband Josh Stevenson, who have essentially run the Mount Washington jewelry store in recent years.
Josh Stevenson said plans for Platinum Plaza have been in the works for several years and, like his father-in-law, he’s excited to see it come to fruition.
“It’s always been something we wanted to do,” he said.
Chera Stevenson, who has worked in the family business since she was a child, said she was also excited to see Platinum Plaza come to life and she hopes her children will be the third generation of jewelers to take over the family jewelry store.