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The Destruction Of Louisville’s Iron Quarter

April 28th, 2010 by jake · 24 Comments

Can you believe the Todd Blue wants to demolish the Iron Quarter? Just what Louisville needs. The destruction of more history.

Blue is one of Greg Fischer’s campaign co-chairs and gave him $1,000.

Where is the outrage over killing Louisville’s heart and soul? I have a feeling there is going to be a major fight.

This what the River Fields/Fischer people stand for. What a shame.

Later Update: It’s not just me. No, I’m not making it up. LEO just confirmed it.

Flashback:

Tags: Bad Behavior · Downtown · Greg Fischer

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tom // Apr 28, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I haven seen anything that says he wants to demo it?…But after all, I sure he’s feeling a bit screwed since the City hasn’t given him any LOVE like Jerry has his buddies over at the Cordish Group. I read it was going to be about $1,000,000.00 to”fix” and stabilize the roof!….They knocked down the block next door to build the Arena, what the hell difference would it make.
    This City is Nuts!,,,,,they GIVE millions !….50 million to some out of town crooks to fund the operations of a dead loosing deal like 4th st!…..a LOCAL guy like Todd they think should shell out his own personal $$$$ to do what “the CITY Wants”…..I’m sure he’s come off the Ether and now realizes that it’d be kinda stupid to build out space to lease , when your competitor is doing it with FREE MONEY….I’d tear it down also & tell’em to stick it where the sun dont shine!
    If the City wants to restore & preserve those POS building that no one has done anything with since the early 70′s….then the CITY should HELP him. I don’t care how much money he has , or people Think he has…..business is Business!…..and you have to use Common sense!…..Unlike what the City used giving tens of millions away thats been squandered at 4th street.
    This will be interesting to see what Fisher’s opinion is on this….if he can give a straight answerto the question?

  • 2 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Apr 28, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    This whole deal is a one hot mess. You have a developer who either planned for this outcome all along, or was too unsophisticated to realize that collateral preservation is a costly and essential component of any prolonged redevelopment project.

    I have to place a good deal of blame on the city and preservationists who weren’t proactive enough to put in place restrictions that would require any owner to take steps to mitigate further degradation of the building envelope.

    At the root of the deterioration was the failure to maintain a serviceable roof envelope. Once significant water intrusion occurs, the rate of deterioration exponentially accelerates.

    That said, the mess is what it is. Since Mr. Blue had no obligation to maintain the envelope, the structures have likely degraded to a point where razing them is a far more lucrative option than salvaging even the facades. The city cannot force him to sell an asset which is highly valuable.

    Now, in my opinion, when someone like Mr. Blue purchases a culturally valuable structure, they in turn, should be obligated to prevent it from deteriorating further.

    I hope that if the razing of this block was his intention all along, that feels a great deal of shame in the outcome. His lack of action has potentially robbed this community of an irreplaceable cultural asset.

    If it is wasn’t his intention, and more a reflection on bad market and economic timing, it should go as a warning to future developers that they should be more responsible in ensuring that culturally significant properties be preserved from further degradation until they can be restored.

  • 3 jake // Apr 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    If you can afford a Bentley, you can afford some roof repairs.

  • 4 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Apr 28, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Being a developer in the early to mid-2000s was like be a day-trader in the late 1990s. You couldn’t fail because you were riding the bubble high.

    Now that the bubbles have collapsed, the sophisticated professionals will differentiate themselves from the posers and crooks.

    Unfortunately, there is always collateral damage. This situation is a prime example of that sort of collateral damage. I can also point out a certain vacant grass-covered block in the center of Lexington as another glaring example of collateral damage.

  • 5 Steve Magruder // Apr 29, 2010 at 12:44 am

    No matter how we got here, I think a lot of people (including myself) will be ready to chain themselves together to block the bulldozers, so to speak.

    This. Ain’t. Happening.

  • 6 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Apr 29, 2010 at 1:29 am

    I truly wish you the best of luck Steve, but I’m not sure what can be done at this point. We disagree on a lot of things, but on this topic I’m on your side. It’s going to be a battle of personal shame vs. financial viability.

    Unfortunately, I think because of the level of structural degradation and current market conditions, the preservation of this block has evolved from a commercially viable project, to a charity case.

    This block should have been dealt with a decade or more ago. Ironically, the fight over the downtown arena’s viability and location helped doom this block. If a clear and decisive decision to locate the area in its current location five years earlier had been made, the block would have been commercially viable prior to the market downturn.

  • 7 garyguss // Apr 29, 2010 at 7:12 am

    At this point the facades need to be saved at least, with all of the collapsed floors in these buildings that might be all that can be done and that will maintain the look of the street while opening up the area for some productive use.

  • 8 Steve Magruder // Apr 29, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I’m not interested in woulda-coulda-shoulda’s.

    These are key historical buildings, and if they can be saved, they must be saved, entirely.

  • 9 bourbonball72 // Apr 29, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Seeing what the O’Sheas did with their building on Main should be a model and an inspiration project for that area. Louisville may be a “city on the move” but it is irresponsible to ignore its past by leaving older areas looking strafed and bombed out or worse yet, replaced by soulless 1980′s style glass cubes. It would be right for Blue and other locals to get some of what Cordish recieved, but Blue’s feet need to be held to the fire for his neglect of those structures…do we have space to put him in with Frank Faris for a while?

  • 10 Steve Magruder // Apr 29, 2010 at 11:56 am

    New Facebook group: Save the Iron Quarter!

  • 11 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Apr 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Looking at Frank, I’m not sure there would be room.

  • 12 Chuck // Apr 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Bulldoze it. Its his property. If you want to buy it, then make him an offer if you can find the funds and actually put your money where your mouth is. Then you can fix it up like you want and do everything you wish to make it grand. Why didn’t anyone out there step and buy the old crappy house by Genny’s if it was such a good investment.

  • 13 jake // Apr 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Got a lot of pent-up stress, Chuck?

    As I’ve said a few other times… Frank had two wealthy men offer to BUY the property from him within the past 60 days at better than market value. He refused both offers.

  • 14 Steve Magruder // Apr 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Chuck, you’ll have to bulldoze through my chest cavity to take those buildings down.

    Not. Gonna. Happen.

  • 15 Chuck // Apr 30, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Then Jake, I guess under the logic you and others have used, we should go ahead and force you to sell your business since we don’t like what you are doing with it or with anything else. That’s the screwed up logic that these preservationists are using. Same with the judge.

    So what you’re really saying is that its ok for government to take legally owned property of an individual that paid for said property 10 years ago. So basically you’re supporting the whole idea that a judge can force you to give away property that you legally bought and paid for and paid the taxes on for 10 years.

    Since its private property, I feel that the owner has a right to sell, keep or dispose of it any way he chooses. As far as it not being a hazard to the passers by and commuters, its his job to keep it up or raze it.

    Obviously, the Crescent Hill Marxists aren’t really interested in anything other than keeping some allegedly historic craphole in place. Who slept there that was famous? Who visited there that was famous? Which event happened there that is so great for our historical preservation?

    Why aren’t the knuckleheads interested in cleaning up the West End, South End, or anywhere else in Louisville that is falling down. Maybe they need to get out of their houses and drive around the different parts of the city and find all these places with peeling paint, crumbing facades, poorly maintained buildings and start helping to fix them up and include the money for that. But most of them don’t have a pot to pee in and barely a window to throw it out of. I’ve been to every neighborhood in Louisville for the most part and Crescent Hill isn’t all that special and has not been for years.

    Granted Louisville has some old buildings and houses many of which ought to be condemned and torn down considering that a lot of them are in questionable structural integrity.

    As far as Frank Faris goes, I always thought that in this country we have property rights but sounds like the local Hammer and Sickle types obviously aren’t interested in following the property rights that were enshrined in the original documents of this country and its founders. Called property rights and you can look that up.

    Then again, on this day that Saigon fell 35 years ago, I would almost suspect some of the locals here might as well have a Vietcong flag with a Hammer and Sickle along with it. After all, it fits the demeanor of a few of the locals here.

    As far as Magruder and his idle boasts, you have no dog in this fight and you have no authority. Its easy for you to talk behind your computer.

  • 16 Steve Magruder // Apr 30, 2010 at 9:01 am

    My position is literal and hardened.

    The anonymous coward Chuck can throw out all the barbs he likes, I’ve been called worse. Further, property rights are not absolute. There are laws that provide for the protection of historic properties.

    These buildings WILL be saved. Louisville citizens, united, have all the authority they need.

  • 17 JTT // Apr 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I’m of mixed feelings about this. I’m heartsick that the buildings are in such horrible shape, and it flows right back to the city and its inability to move anything forward. When the corner building collapsed, immediate action needed to have been taken to avoid the domino effect that has since occurred. I’m not a structural engineer, but even I knew that that eastern exposed wall was not built to be exposed to the elements – it is a brick interior wall.

    But I also know you can’t force someone to spend money they don’t have. Louisville gives no incentive to those who own and want to restore old buildings. If the building is not within the identified “preferred” area – it is totally ignored – look at how the Portland Marine Hospital was ignored for years. (And still is, even though it looks good now, it is surrounded by a junky chainlink fence and appears to be totally unused.) Many houses in Portland are as old, if not considerably older, than Old Louisville, yet scant attention is paid to them. The Squire Earick house is rapidly falling down, and it is one of the oldest houses in the county!

    Abramson is like Nero – he fiddles while Louisville collapses ….

  • 18 Chuck // Apr 30, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    At least one thing Magruder, if I saw you on the street I don’t think you would have the courage to call me or anyone else a coward. You’re the typical hard core liberal that talks using the net and has no real backbone. Feel free to meet me for coffee and doughnuts any time. I suspect that you’ll have to bring a couple of buddies to hide behind first.

  • 19 jake // Apr 30, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Chuck: Save your “liberal” spin.

    Magruder’s not a Democrat and I’d call him independent before I called him liberal.

    That said – it’s easy to cast aspersions when you’re commenting anonymously on a website. Especially when you’re complaining that someone won’t say something to your face.

  • 20 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Apr 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I sorry Steve, but the city has authority to take the property from Cobalt and tell him what he should or shouldn’t do with it.

    While I think it is criminal what happened to this block, you dismissal of my “woulda-coulda-shoulda’s” is exactly the point. The block was never assessed special status, and nobody gave a crap about it while it rotted for two decades until it became a danger and was no longer economically viable for salvage.

    It only became viable to salvage the block after the arena location was decided. I hope that preservationists and politicians will learn from the mistakes and neglect of this block, and take steps to prevent this kind of situation from occurring in the future. If some of that Cordish cash had been funneled to this block five years ago, we may not be where we are today.

  • 21 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Apr 30, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    edit:

    “I’m sorry Steve, but the city does not have the authority…….”

  • 22 Steve Magruder // May 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Chuck, if you’re not a coward, you will use your real name in posting. If you believe in your adolescent positions on this matter, I mean *really* believe in them, you won’t have a problem with revealing who you are.

    And yes, I would call you a coward in person. Because you are one.

  • 23 Steve Magruder // May 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Mark H, I honestly don’t disagree with anything you’re saying, but a lot of times in life, we have to say “that was then, this is now… what are we going to do now?”

    Also we should realize the dynamics of activism — it’s far easier to get people energized to do something when there’s an emergency. And Mr. Blue has given us that. Perhaps even he realizes this and will not oppose landmarking so he can get some generous tax credits to help rehab the buildings.

  • 24 anon87 // May 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I’m not from here, but you people need to save your buildings before a hotel is built there.

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