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An Iron Quarter Agreement Has Been Reached

January 31st, 2011 by jake · 18 Comments

According to a press release, Metro Gubmint and Todd Blue have reached an agreement on the future of the historic Iron Quarter on Main Street.

Blue drops his suit, city helps preserve the facades.

More from the release:

According the agreement reached this morning, Blue has permission to demolish the buildings in 90 days because they pose a public safety hazard. During this 90-day period, Blue and the City will explore the best method of either preserving the existing facades or recreating facades with similar architectural appearance in any future development, to preserve the architectural fabric of Main Street.

Meanwhile, Mayor Greg Fischer will ask the Metro Council top appropriate a minimum of $450,000 in the upcoming budget to help cover the cost of recreating the facades, if Blue and the City agree that is the best route. If Blue and the City agree to preserve some or all of the existing facades, the City still may attempt to obtain additional funding from Metro Council.

“I believe this is the best outcome for both parties,” Fischer said. “This keeps taxpayers from further litigation but saves the facades for future generations.”

Fischer said the compromise is similar to what occurred with the historic Coleman building at 3rd and Jefferson Streets, where the façade was saved and incorporated into the downtown Marriott.

“It was incredibly refreshing working with Mayor Fischer and his new administration to start the process of resolving this very important opportunity for our community, which until now was road blocked,” Blue said. “Mayor Fischer’s pro-business attitude is already apparent and he’s less than 30 days into his administration.”

Blue added: “Our company has a history of preservation and a love for the heritage of this community; our projects have always exemplified this. It’s great to have someone in a position of leadership who has a desire to work with the business community instead of against it. The facts of this case were always based on our concern for the safety of the community and nothing else. With this settlement, we have agreed to work with the City in order to streamline the issues. Our goal is to create a pathway for all of us to commence what has the potential to be one of the finest public/private partnerships. This is a spectacular and critically important location. As some have said, this will be Louisville’s Times Square!”

Thoughts?

You won’t hear me complaining. If we can squander fifty trillion dollars on a study to see if a study is feasible to study another study, then, uh, why not? Let’s at least preserve this city’s character while the rest of the world drips down the drain.

Tags: Construction · Downtown · Greg Fischer · Metro Government

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Fleur-de-gris // Jan 31, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Recreating the facades doesn’t *preserve* anything! This pretense of saving something is a meaningless smokescreen: Mr Blue gets what he wants, Metro acts like they had an impact that did some good, and the joke is on us.

    Say goodbye to our architectural legacy, Louisvillians. It’s being bought in exchange for political capital for our new mayor.

  • 2 ace hat // Jan 31, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Glad to heat that the Pro-Business common sense has finally surfaced…..maybe there is hope that the City won’t piss off or run off the local commited business folks who have helped shape this City with their OWN Risk Capital!

    This a Vote of confidence for Fischer, now if he can just pay attention and do the damage control on some other necessary issues that he should resolve ASAP.

  • 3 Steve Magruder // Feb 1, 2011 at 7:34 am

    This is outrageous. This isn’t the end of the matter.

    These buildings are landmarked, and you can’t just agree to let them be torn down.

  • 4 fleur-de-gris // Feb 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

    fischer isn’t just agreeing to allow the demolition – he’s throwing $450k in to sweeten the pot!

    if the facades can be maintained, there’s at least some value in that.

    if they do, in fact, tear down the buildings and – as i expect – find it not feasible to keep the facades, i hope rebuilding of ‘similar’ isn’t pursued. that’s just a disney version of the past: no historical integrity at all. why bother?

  • 5 Alice // Feb 1, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Steve, having read the piece in the A Kentucky Newspaper my understanding is that indeed they can be torn down because the city has admitted that they pose an imminent safety risk. Apparently this allows them to bypass the Landmarks Commission and the Waterfront Development Corp in getting approval to demolish the structures.

  • 6 John G. // Feb 1, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Let’s not forget why they are a safety hazard, Todd Blue allowed them to rot, and the city did nothing to hold him accountable for minimal maintance of the buildings.

  • 7 jake // Feb 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Haha, you people and your common sense… you think things like facts and reality have any foothold at Sixth & Jefferson… hahaha….

  • 8 Alice // Feb 1, 2011 at 10:51 am

    @John G.-
    Yes, absolutely. It’s not that the hotels idea isn’t interesting it’s just that when you look at what has been done with the other buildings on that block you realize these could have easily been rehabbed to maintain their historic integrity. My biggest concern is in 3 months we will have another set of empty facades on Main st once the buildings are demolished (see Museum Plaza). Neither Element or Aloft (same parent company) have committed to the project, is there a backup plan if they don’t?

  • 9 what? // Feb 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

    There are no less than 6 hotels proposed for downtown. Anyone like to pick the odds that this property is still vacant 5 years from now? With Cogan razing the DW Silks building across from Slugger Field and their proposed Twin Towers dead in the water somehow Louisville is going to end up with blocks of dirt which will no doubt exist for years. How in the world could this happen as the arena opened?

  • 10 The Highlander // Feb 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Come on guys — it depends on who’s ox is getting gored. At 621 W. Main St. you will find the buildings BEHIND the facade torn down. Why? Because the CITY OF LOUISVILLE OWNED THE BUILDING (bought it out of Vencor’s bkcy) and it’s going to be used for the entrance way into the Museum Plaza (!!![in 2045 when its finished]).
    Point: If the City tears down a building and saves the facade, it’s OK if its for the Brown family, but Mayor Happy Pants required Blue to sue the city — to accomplish the SAME RESULT that he (himself) accomplished for the Browns, voluntarily!!!
    Some Mayor that dude was!

  • 11 jake // Feb 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    FOR THE RECORD: I would let anyone gore my ox for $400,000.

  • 12 East Market Resident // Feb 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    His Honor Fischer has agreed to reduce the East End Bridge to four lanes thus ensuring that thru truck traffic will mainly fill 12 lanes of roadway down the middle of downtown Louisville, thus siding with his rich friends in the east. Thanks Your Honor.

    His Honor Fischer has agreed to destroy a major landmark in Downtown Louisville to help out his rich friends. Thanks Your Honor.

    Your Honor, might you consider the greater good of all of Louisville instead of just your rich friends?

    Recall Vote anyone?

  • 13 keatssycamore // Feb 2, 2011 at 10:58 am

    “is there a backup plan if they don’t?”

    Yep. The Fishy agreement allows Blue to tear everything down, pave over it and operate a surface parking for at least 5 years.

    Of course, that is what will happen b/c Blue’s not going to get his pie-in-the-sky development done.

  • 14 keatssycamore // Feb 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

    ack!

    close ital ?

    Sorry Jake.

  • 15 jake // Feb 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Fixed.

  • 16 Alice // Feb 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Keatssycamore,
    Was that really stated in the agreement? thinking of that turning into a parking lot ranks right up their with reactionary protesters in Cairo as the most depressing thing I have heard all day.

  • 17 Steve Magruder // Feb 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    “because the city has admitted that they pose an imminent safety risk.”

    But this comes after the city’s own assessments that the buildings didn’t pose an imminent public safety risk. What the city is doing is an invitation to a lawsuit by preservationists.

    This should be decided under the auspices of the Landmarks Commission — this is their turf, and Mayor Fischer pulled the rug out from under them.

    Can anyone say “WhiskeyRowgate”?

  • 18 Steve Magruder // Feb 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    By the way, everyone knows how I rag on the C-J editorial board, but their editorial yesterday on this matter was A+ — many great arguments, and they even criticize Fischer for a lack of transparency that he promised.

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