Colonial Gardens Likely to Remain Empty

It sure sounds like the group seeking to develop Colonial Gardens is beating its head against a 107-year-old wall.

The South End landmark, which has a rich history of hosting musical acts, including Elvis Presley, sits at the busy corner of New Cut Road and Kenwood Drive, across from an entrance to Iroquois Park, near the Ampitheater. The building’s Georgia-based owners, South End Investment Group, want to demolish it and build a development with a restaurant and shopping.

They’re not interested in putting anything new in the current building, which is falling apart. It’s been empty for six years, and looks like it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

The owners have applied for a demolition permit, despite the fact that the site was designated a local landmark last November.

Meanwhile, a group dedicated to preserving the building, Restore Louisville Gardens, believes recent Historic Preservations legislation signed by Steve Beshear will make it easier for the developer to get tax credits for investment in the structure.  The investors disagree, saying it’s still too costly to preserve the building. A neighborhood group has sided with developers, who want to spend $4 million to raze the structure and build something similar in its place.

The Landmarks Commission could OK the demolition, but it’s extremely unlikely. So the future of the site remains uncertain.