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Iron Quarter/Whiskey Row Shenanigans Are Testy

March 9th, 2011 by jake · 15 Comments

Okay, look, we get it. Todd Blue is bitter over the millions he’s got in those buildings downtown. We get that he just wants to make a profit.

But really? This kind of bitterness is a little much:

Last week, Blue appeared on WFPL’s afternoon news program “State of Affairs” to weigh in on his proposed Iron Quarter development. During the panel discussion, Blue defended his plans and challenged critics to “actually do a project for once” instead of signing petitions and picketing his project.

“I want to reiterate again: These are our buildings, it’s our property, (and) this is our project,” he said. “I’m not sitting here like Donald Trump saying I’m not listening and wouldn’t accept any other thing other than what I want to do. I’m saying my project is my project, and I’m excited about it.”

Asked what it would take to save the buildings, Blue responded bluntly: money. He has said a buyer would have to offer a minimum of $1.5 million for each of the seven buildings.

“I already have millions of my own (money) into it and will have millions more into it and signed for any development we do,” Blue told WFPL. “I’m fully confident in the investment we’ve made in the city and continue to make and not in any way bashful about that.”

With less than 60 days left, there has been little movement by Fischer to involve the Metro Council.

-SNIP-

According to the head of the budget committee, however, council members still haven’t seen the details of the city’s deal with Blue, and they are unable to form a solid position until they do.

Click here to read the rest from LEO Weekly’s Phillip Bailey.

Who, aside from John Schnatter, has eleventy billion dollars to just sink into those buildings Blue has allowed to fester and rot for years and years?

And really, Greg Fischer? Still playing pat-a-cake with Metro Council?

Possibility City!

Tags: Downtown · Greg Fischer · LEO · Oops · Possibility City

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Steve Magruder // Mar 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Mr. Blue, bluntly holding hostage our city’s heritage.

  • 2 Roger // Mar 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    So Builder Blue is ‘excited’ about a parking lot?

  • 3 BT // Mar 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Where the hell are all these “hearings” Jim King promised on this issue?

  • 4 Phil // Mar 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    If he feels the properties are worth $6mm more than their PVA assessment, shouldn’t he pay taxes on the value he feels they are worth?

  • 5 Alice // Mar 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I don’t know who has that much in Louisville. Maybe Bill Weyland or Gill Holland will try to save a couple of them if we are lucky.

  • 6 Earl // Mar 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Phil, I heard you paid $125,000.00 for your house 15 years ago. It may now be worth #300,000.00 to you, but I want to buy it for $125,000.00 because that’s all I heard you have in it. I also know your tax assessment is only $150,000.oo, so I will only pay you that. I also feel very strongly that you must sell it me or somebody I know, because I don’t want you to own it anymore. It may be because I don’t like the color I hear you’re going to paint your house, or whatever. It doesn’t matter. You have to sell because I want you to, and that’s that.

    That’s pretty much what I’m hearing, anyway.

  • 7 Boo Blue // Mar 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Earl, Blue has allowed these buildings to deteriorate for the past 4 or so years he has owned them. I understand paying more for property that has been maintained and upgraded in this time period; but what fool would pay more for property that is now dilapidated due to Blue’s neglect?

  • 8 willy // Mar 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Earl;
    Does Phil live in a home that is 100+ year old unreplaceable Louisville history? NO Did Phil buy his house on speculation and greed and do nothing to it for 5 years, let the roof leak, rack up code infractions, allow the property to deteriorate to an unsafe condition? NO
    Yes Blue owns the property and can sell it for whatever he wants. The problem is he is greedy and does not want to sell it for what he has in it and a “reasonable profit”. Reasonable profit is not 10 million dollars. He got lucky with the new Mayor and cut a backroom deal allowing him to destroy these buildings, sit on a parking lot for up to 5 years until the economy turns around. I hope the Council votes this down if given a vote. As much as I dislike the greedy owner I would contribute to save the buildings or at least save the facades and a part of Louisvilles history that can never be replaced.

  • 9 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Mar 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    While Mr. Blue’s reputation should wear the tarnish of his neglect, the preservationists have no standing at this point to block his actions. Where were they all of these decades as that block continued to rot away. Only when someone steps up to the plate with money, do they come out of the woodwork to tell him how to spend “his” money. There was nothing keeping them from trying to find an investment buyer to purchase and renovate the block before Mr. Blue purchased it. If that weren’t bad enough, they then rush to obtain special designation for the block to make it more difficult (and costly) to do something with the block. Why didn’t they seek that determination decades ago? I find it ironic that some of the same people who chastise River Fields for their obstructionist actions in the East End, are engaging in the same kinds of tactics against Mr. Blue.

    The reality is that he has a legal right to turn the block into a parking lot if he chooses. That said, the preservationists and movers and shakers in the city, for whom Mr. Blue likes to associate, and I would think desires their approval and respect, should socially shame him into preserving the facades at a minimum (if at all feasibly possible at this point).

    The problem is that they have degraded to a point that the whole block is unstable as seen when the end unit collapsed. Obviously Blue contributed to poor condition that the buildings are currently. That said, unless he is ready to erect the rest of the complex, I would think that there is no way to safely save the facades and support them while waiting for the rest of the block to be redeveloped.

    Bottom line: We do not as Louivillians have a right to prohibit Mr. Blue from razing the block, but we certainly have the right and obligation to socially shame him for his neglect. If the Voice Tribune Society Page crowd were to chastise and alienate him for his actions, he may want to take a look at his plans again. The problem is that at this point, I’m not sure what can be done without the new building complex being ready to go up.

  • 10 Earl // Mar 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Why isn’t Jim Walters being dragged through the mud? He’s the guy who owned these buildings when they went from occupied to literally falling down. Eddie Donaldsons had already fallen BEFORE Blue bought the complex.

  • 11 The Highlander // Mar 10, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Earl: Because he’s a fav of the Kentucky n’paper. He built the pink building on the riverfront that is NOW owned by Ms. Bingham, after she divorced her husband for causing the investment. Rumored that she’s only lost about $5mm. Hasn’t missed a meal yet, though.

  • 12 Phil // Mar 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Earl, if a person feels so strongly that a property is worth X amount then they should march their ass downtown and demand to have the property values amended and pay their fair share. Very rarely is a person so lucky that the PVA assesses their property far below market value. On the flip side if your property was assessed above market value, what would you do? Would you pay the taxes or would you demand a reduction in the value? Just sayin’

    Whoever owned the properties before him has nothing to do with them now. He purchased the buildings and should have been proactive in their rehabilitation or stepped to the side and let people who can get the job done in there. I would bet that his plan from the beginning was to tear those buildings down. I don’t feel sorry for people who are blinded by greed.

  • 13 Phil // Mar 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    @Mark H regarding the current stability of the facade, a very simple solution is to build a structural steel scaffold or framework constructed behind them would support them while the block is developed. Look at the facades on the North side of Main between 6th and 7th, I don’t know the exact address but that is how they are supported.

  • 14 Earl // Mar 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    The value is what the market says it is. The buildings are his. Not mine. Not yours.

    You don’t get to make decisions for other people just because you’ve developed an interest in their things. It’s sort of stealing.

  • 15 dc_slim // Mar 11, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Can we please recognize that Mr. Blue paid too much for those buildings in the first place? This is exactly why he hasn’t done anything with them. Why is the city so eager to bail out an inept developer? We deserve to know.

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