The Latest News on Main Street
Preservation in Downtown: a Response to Recent Events
As our historic center, the character of Downtown defines much about our community, our heritage, and our values. Preservation Louisville believes the historic structures in our Downtown are of great significance to both our past and future, and deserve to be protected. Over the years multiple efforts have been made to identify historic structures in Downtown and to find tools that encourage their preservation and renewal. Much has been accomplished, but still we see situations like Whiskey Row, and the current Elmo’s demolition, which undermine these previous efforts and defy existing regulations.
The City has undertaken at least four separate efforts at developing the definitive list of structures worthy of preservation, beginning with a Multiple Resource Nomination to the National Register in 1974 through, most recently, a 2006 survey of the Downtown area. Ordinances and regulations have been written and adopted which should protect Downtown’s historic character. See an example: http://www.louisvilleky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/CF24E18A-A999-472E-8F4C-76DB2A915B83/0/DDROGuidelinesRevised2009.pdf
It’s not working!
Preservation Louisville calls upon Metro government to conduct a public forum to review historic building surveys that have been undertaken, explain current ordinances, and to present viable options for utilizing and strengthening these tools to preserve historic buildings Downtown. Recent events demand a better method of dealing with these questions. The public has raised valid issues. It is time for Metro to respond and encourage a public dialogue about all the tools in the toolbox that are available to address citizen’s concerns.
What can you do?
If you have any questions or concerns about Preservation or the recent events in downtown, please contact:
- The Mayor’s office: 502-574-2003 or click below to email
- Metro Historic Preservation Officer, Richard Jett: 502-574-5210 or email Richard.Jett@louisvilleky.gov
"The Elmo's Building"
Four preservation organizations (PLI, NPP, LHL, and OPEN) were allowed to intervene in the Whiskey Row lawsuit by Judge Heyburn. On May 14, 2011, the preservation groups were informed by their attorney that the City agreement, announced by the Mayor, included a provision to allow the demolition of 306-10 East Main St. This provision was decried as an unnecessary loss that had nothing to do with, and was unrelated to, the Whiskey Row buildings. Despite the regrettable nature of this provision, no one wished to do anything that might place the Whiskey Row block in further jeopardy. The settlement agreement had been negotiated between the County Attorney's Office and the attorneys for Todd Blue, with no other input. Steve Porter, the attorney for the four interveners, was only informed after the deal had been struck and announced. A copy of the agreement was finally obtained only through an Open Records request.
These buildings appear to be in good condition and were recently improved and in use. There is no urgent reason for demolition - not building condition, and not a pending development waiting to take their place. They will simply become another parking lot in between two existing lots on East Main Street. Parking lots are emblematic as a failure of development.
Clearly the most important component of the City/ Blue agreement has been the protections provided to the 100 block of West Main Street, which means so much to the history and character of this city. It is extremely unfortunate that this achievement has occurred at the expense of 306-10 East Main. This collateral damage is an unnecessary side effect of saving Whiskey Row. But such is the nature of the agreement negotiated by the City. West Main will be redeveloped, but on East Main, another failure of development will be on display.
Whiskey Row Deal Update!
Many of you may have already heard the exciting announcement on 5.9.11 about the proposed solution to the Whiskey Row crisis. For those who may have missed the press coverage, please follow the link below to read the latest from the Courier-Journal.
Although there are still many details to resolve in the next sixty days, 5.9.11 marked a significant turning point and a victory for the citizens, like yourself, who stood up to protect the history and character of this community. Preservation Louisville, Inc. was pleased and proud to be one of the leaders of this effort, but we wanted you to know that we could not have succeeded without your support.
Since an agreement which could have potentially led to the demolition of seven of these historic buildings was announced at the end of January, staff has devoted over 700 hours to discussions throughout the community in an effort to find a solution. Our legal team donated over $11,000 of service in mounting a defense strategy that ultimately won the participation of the adjacent property owners of 121 West Main and the approval of a Federal Court judge to allow our involvement in the settlement agreement. Board members spent countless hours assisting in these efforts. All in all these costs to Preservation Louisville totaled over $6,000, but it was money well spent to ensure the protection of our heritage.
On behalf of our board of directors, the other participants in our legal intervention, and all of the citizens who care about preservation in Louisville, I wanted to thank you for your generous support in helping to make this day possible.
Please take a few moments to thank our Mayor and the Metro Council for their commitment to preserving our city's heritage. Please click the links below to email the Mayor and thank him and his team for their dedication to protecting our civic assets. Then email the entire Metro Council and encourage them to approve the $1.5 million dollars that the Mayor has asked to be dedicated to this project.
Thank you for your continued support of Preservation Louisville and our work throughout the Metro area! Please call or email should you have any questions.
SAVE WHISKEY ROW
Property Owner and Preservation Groups
On January 31, Mayor Greg Fischer announced a settlement with developer Todd Blue that allows for demolition of buildings along historic Whiskey Row from 105 to 119 West Main. All of these buildings are designated local Landmarks and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
This decision sets a bad precedent for the city of Louisville, bypassing the city's own ordinances passed by Metro Council in favor of a backroom deal with a developer who has allowed these buildings to deteriorate for several years. In fact, the agreement proposes to commit $450,000 of taxpayer money and would allow him to replace these important buildings with a surface parking lot for up to five years.
The agreement ignores the procedures established by ordinance which requires approval of the Landmarks Commission and the Waterfront Review Overlay District in open meetings before demolition of Landmarked properties can proceed. Disregarding these ordinances sends a chilling message to residents of historic districts and neighborhoods all across the city, who have worked within the system for decades to preserve historic structures and other buildings and to maintain neighborhood character.
Several nonprofit advocacy organizations have been working publicly and behind the scenes to explore legal avenues, and all possible options to stop this wholesale destruction of Whiskey Row from happening are being pursued. These organizations include Preservation Louisville, Neighborhood Planning and Preservation, O.P.E.N. Louisville, Preservation Kentucky and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
We urge you to act now to let the Mayor's office and your Metro Council representative know the public does not support the settlement between the city and Todd Blue which if executed will allow the demolition of seven historic Whiskey Row buildings!
Not sure what to say? Help us reinforce these message points:
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
Act now to ensure the future of historic landmarks and open public process in Louisville!
By email, phone, mail or facebook:
Contact Mayor Greg Fischer:
Contact your Metro Council representative:
Contact Metro Call:
Express your views on this matter. Let them know that historic preservation is a valued strategy that is important to a city's economic, social and cultural well-being.
Attend and sign up to speak at an upcoming Metro Council meeting (6 p.m. 2nd and 4th Thursdays). Upcoming meetings are February 24, March 10 and March 24.
Voice your concern about this project and the proposed investment of $450,000 of public money during Mayor Fischer Citizen Budget Hearings:
· 7:30 p.m. February 22, Southwest Government Center
· 1 p.m. February 28, Shawnee Golf Course
· 1 p.m. March 1, Metro Hall (Old Courthouse)
· 7 p.m. March 8, East Government Center
· 1 p.m. March 12, Central Government Center
Join the Mayor from 6 to 8 p.m. March 14 at Carter Elementary, the first in a series of neighborhood meetings for free-flowing discussion of city issues.
Contact the media:
Write a letter to the editor:
Follow the news on the Save Whiskey Row facebook page:
February 1, 2011
Statement about the agreement between the city of Louisville and developer Todd Blue allowing for the demolition of buildings along historic Whiskey Row
Preservation Louisville is extremely disappointed to learn that the city of Louisville has apparently come to an agreement with developer Todd Blue which would allow him to demolish seven buildings on Louisville's historic Whiskey Row, all of which are local landmarks and all of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Preservation Louisville is preparing to take whatever action is possible to protect our heritage. However, until the city's agreement is provided to the public, it is not clear what that action might be.
As recently as last June, the city's staff reported that these buildings could be saved. If there was new information on the buildings' condition, it has not been shared with the public. Whatever their condition, it is obvious that their deterioration is the responsibility of their owner. Preservationists have been warning the city for many years that they were being neglected. The proposed agreement appears to reward this neglect.
The buildings along Whiskey Row from 101 to 119 West Main were first identified as historic resources during a comprehensive survey of downtown Louisville's central business district in 1976. The Waterfront Development Corporation has included them in its 20-year master plan for redevelopment. In fact, Waterfront Development Corporation President David Karem observed in this morning's Courier-Journal, that he "envisioned the preservation of (the buildings) as a very important historic component of the waterfront."
These buildings have been included on "Louisville's Most Endangered" lists for more than two decades, pre-dating the existence of Preservation Louisville, which named them to its first "most endangered" list in 2009.
As of this morning we still have not seen the agreed order reached between the city and Cobalt Ventures, so until that time we still don't understand all the ramifications for this site. Last summer during the Landmark process more than 1,000 people in this community signed petitions asking that there be public dialogue about the future of the buildings along Whiskey Row. This settlement precludes public involvement in their future and we are shocked by this turn of events.
Metro Landmarks Commission designated 105-121 West Main Street Local Landmarks
Preservation Louisville is proud to announce that on Monday, June 28th after a public hearing the Metro Landmarks Commission voted to make the properties at 105-121 West Main Street Local Landmarks.
Due to the location and Local Landmark status, the next step in the process for the future of the buildings will be for the owner or developer of these properties to submit a proposal or plans for the future projects they would like to complete. Any proposed project or plan for these properties will have to be reviewed by two Metro organizations, the Landmarks Commission and the Waterfront Review Overlay.
It is a great victory for the Louisville community that these buildings have been designated Local Landmarks, but we must remember that this act was just the beginning of a process that will hopefully lead to the preservation of these significant historic resources and the continued economic development of Main Street. Congratulations and thank you to all who supported this landmarking process! We will continue to send out updates about any future public hearings or plans for these Local Landmarks.
LOUISVILLE METRO HISTORIC LANDMARKS AND PRESERVATION DISTRICTS COMMISSION Public Hearing On the Proposed Local Landmark Designation For:
105 West Main Street
107-109 West Main Street
111 West Main Street
113 West Main Street
115 West Main Street
117 West Main Street
119 West Main Street
121 West Main Street
Monday, June 28, 2010
Old Jail Courtroom
514 West Liberty Street
Preservation Louisville would like to thank everyone who signed the petitions in support of making the endangered buildings on Louisville's Historic Whiskey Row local landmarks. We are thrilled to report that we now have over 1000 signatures on the petitions and will be filing the applications with the Metro Historic Landmarks Commission very soon!
Thanks again to everyone who supported these efforts! We will continue to send out updates as this process unfolds. We will also send out alerts when any public hearings will be held concerning this issue.
Preservation Louisville is joining efforts to help save
7 historic endangered buildings: 105 - 119 West Main Street
referred to as the Iron Quarter, part of Whiskey Row.
Often referred to as the "Iron Quarter", this area originally called "Whiskey Row" was named this because of the buildings Cast Iron facades and the many whiskey businesses that began there. These buildings are a historic row of attached buildings built approximately between 1852 and 1905. Architects include Henry Whitestone, John Andrewartha (City Hall) and D. X. Murphy (Churchill Downs). Many were built and used by pork dealers and whiskey companies. The L& N Railroad Co. and Belknap Hardware Co. also had headquarters in the buildings.
As Metro Louisville’s citywide non-profit historic preservation organization,
Preservation Louisville works in partnership with local, state and national organizations to promote the preservation of our community’s historic resources through education and advocacy. Preservation Louisville also provides education, technical information and resources.
The group is based at The Brennan House Historic Home
For more information:
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or
call (502) 540-5146