What was once The News-Enterprise at 408 W. Dixie Ave. in Elizabethtown soon will be the site of a new restaurant and hardware store.

Danna Monroe, director of design and construction for Houchens Industries, said the company is in the due diligence period of the purchasing process for the property to build a Ace Hardware and a Slim Chickens restaurant.

She said construction could begin as early as this fall and completion could come by early summer of 2023.

The company plans to move the Ace Hardware at 200 Sycamore St. to the West Dixie location. The hardware store will occupy the Maple Street side of the existing structure in what was built in 1993 to serve as a pressroom. The rest of the building would be demolished and replaced with a Slim Chickens restaurant, Monroe said.

Slim Chickens, with roots in Fayetteville, Arkansas, specializes in chicken tenders and southern-fried sides such as pickles and okra. Monroe said the available sides are what makes the restaurant stand out to her.

“We have different offerings that other typical chicken chains don’t have,” she said.

She said the company already had been looking for a location for a Slim Chickens in Elizabethtown and the availability of the press building at the former newspaper office also gave them the opportunity to expand hardware offerings.

Monroe, who grew up in Elizabethtown, said she is thrilled about what’s coming.

“I’ve worked for Houchens for five years now, so this is our first construction project here in town,” she said.

“Being director of design and construction, I’m thrilled we’re finally coming back to E’town to do something.”

Acquired 13 months ago by Paxton Media Group, The News-Enterprise and its related services were valued commodities. With plans to consolidate three printing plants operated by previous ownership, the building and grounds were not acquired by the Paducah-based media company.

Since the acquisition, the newspaper was a tenant at 408 W. Dixie Ave. while shopping for office space. The newspaper office is now at 200 Sycamore St., Suite 134, in Elizabethtown, coincidentally a neighbor to the current Ace Hardware retail store.