The three members of Live behind the $45 million project to renovate a former York City factory are now channeling their entrepreneurial spirits into a downtown building that's been vacant for decades.
Think Loud Development has an idea for the former F.W. Woolworth building, said Bill Hynes, a Northampton County investor who is an equal partner in the development group with Live musicians Chad Taylor, Chad Gracey and Patrick Dahlheimer.
"We think the location's perfect for what we want to do with it," Hynes said. "It would bring jobs and it would bring people into the city."
For now, Hynes said, he's keeping the details of the idea under wraps. Think Loud has not submitted a formal proposal to the city's Redevelopment Authority, which owns the building and has been trying for years to facilitate its re-use.
Hynes acknowledged a growing buzz about the group's interest in the Woolworth building.
"We really didn't want to talk about it right now," Hynes said. "However, we were asked. Somebody found out about it. People are talking about it."
The RDA has given Think Loud permission to access the building, Hynes said. He said they'll use the access to evaluate the building's structural integrity and the feasibility of their idea. A formal proposal could follow if they decide to move forward.
"Basically, they handed us the keys," Hynes said. "We're going to take it for a test drive."
About the building: The 19,000-square-foot former department store at 44-50 W. Market St. has been vacant since the early 1980s, said Kevin Schreiber, the city's economic and community development director.
The RDA acquired the building about 12 years ago and has tried many times to find developers who could bring it back to life, Schreiber said.
The building has a new roof and is structurally solid. But, for a variety of reasons, the RDA has yet to find a buyer willing and able to transform the building into its "highest and best use," Schreiber said.
"It's a building that was built for an entirely different era and market," he said. "The challenge has often been making the numbers work."
Schreiber said he's eager to see what Think Loud has in mind for the building.
Other work: If the idea comes to fruition, it won't be the first time Hynes and his rock-star partners have wowed city officials with real-estate plans.
The group announced at a press conference in January that they planned to turn the former Bi-Comp Inc. factory at 210 York St. into the headquarters of a "cutting-edge technology" company and a recording studio. Think Loud has not yet named the company because of a non-disclosure agreement.
The development team made local headlines again in March when Live -- on hiatus since 2008 -- announced the band's return to the music scene at a private show at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.
Taylor, Dahlheimer and Gracey formed the band with former singer Ed Kowalczyk in 1985. The four are 1989 graduates of William Penn Senior High School who went on to achieve mainstream success with their 1994 album "Throwing Copper," which produced a string of radio hits.
Think Loud's interest in the Woolworth building is completely independent of the Bi-Comp project, Hynes said.
Hynes cautioned against premature celebration of Think Loud's newest interest. As a developer, Hynes said, it's not uncommon for him to take interest in buildings, and he doesn't purchase every one.
But, he could understand why word was traveling fast that Think Loud had set its sights on the Woolworth building.
"It was part of the fabric of York at one point," he said.
-- Reach Erin James at 505-5439 or ejame firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ydcity.