Jeff Morgan ’96 reinvents the JDI
Anyone who frequented the former JDI dance club at High and South Limestone streets in downtown Lexington has Jeff Morgan ’96 to thank for bringing back the establishment in a new incarnation and location on the corner of South Broadway and Cedar Street.
The three-story JDI Grille and Tavern is done in a vintage style featuring brickwork, limestone pediments, and a cornice that recalls earlier Lexington architecture. This approach was chosen to fit in with its South Hill location, a historic area south of High Street near the University of Kentucky campus. It’s part of an $8.6 million development of an entire city block that will also include the Village at South Broadway, a group of 20 single-family townhouses.
“I had been interested in this property for awhile because it was one of the last blocks in that neighborhood you could do anything with,” said Morgan, who developed the property with his twin brother, Jason Morgan, and mother, Karen Morgan, as co-owners. “I got the support of the Historic South Hill Neighborhood Association because of the scale, the use, and the appearance of the project.”
The new, 8,800-square-foot JDI features a large bar and the main restaurant on the first floor, a bourbon bar and more restaurant seating on the second floor, and a private party room on the top floor.
The first phase of 10 townhouses is scheduled for completion by August, with the second group of 10 ready for occupancy in the spring of 2014. The units will be three stories high.
Morgan, a business administration major (marketing emphasis) at Transylvania, is the owner of Morgan Properties and has been in the building and developing business since graduation. He started with rental properties and rehabilitation work and gradually got into planning developments, including apartment complexes in Lexington, and overseeing their construction.
Recalling his Transylvania years, Morgan remembered the former JDI, housed in a historic brick building that is still standing. He’s enjoying seeing students and others taking advantage of the latest incarnation of the venue.
“We used to have a great time at the JDI on High Street, and it’s good to see people doing that again. We’re drawing from both the Transylvania and UK campus communities, and it’s going very well.”
Jeff Morgan (right) and his brother Jason Morgan and mother Karen Morgan in the bar at the new JDI Grille and Tavern.