Here’s what Healthy Urban Design, via Keith Runyon, had to say regarding Greg Fischer’s action/inaction on the Water Company property:
The group of citizens, architects and environmentalists known as Healthy Urban Design (HUD) is both surprised and disappointed to learn of Mayor Greg Fischer’s announcement today that the city intends to proceed immediately with dismantling and storage of the historic Louisville Water Company building. Such a process could begin by September 5, after a 30-day notice requirement is met.
Mayor Fischer has been cooperative up to today in offering businesses and individuals an opportunity to develop projects that would permit the Water Company building to be transported to another site. Yet as he and the leaders of Louisville Forward know, or should know through the advice of their Landmarks and Historic Preservation office, historic buildings cannot be dismembered and stored like so many Legos from one location to another. Financial packages to permit adaptive reuse for older structures depend upon the availability of federal and state tax credits. Location is a key factor, and the farther away from the original site the building is moved, the less likely that tax credits will be available. Moving buildings as units help to ensure that this key financial tool is available. Such will be difficult if not impossible if the LWC building is broken up into pieces.
Mayor Fischer calls the Omni project “transformational,” yet if it truly were transformational, it would have been more responsive to citizen requests that it relate to the scale of the city around it in accordance with components of the Downtown Development Review Overlay guidelines. It would have allowed a redesign of the Third Street façade to reduce the “urban canyon” effect by becoming more inviting to pedestrians and merchants, and it would move its parking and loading dock entrances into an alley. It would have incorporated more significant “green” elements.
While our organization supports the concept of the Omni project, many issues remain unresolved. And they deserve resolution since taxpayers are expected to underwrite 48 cents of every dollar spent on this project.
This is no way to run a compassionate or responsible government. We urge Mayor Fischer to reconsider this hasty and unnecessary step and to work more openly and actively to repurpose the Water Company Building, not to send it to storage where, if history is a judge, it will molder and be forgotten.
There’s not much more to say than that other than… Possibility City…?