by Sheila Ash
Earlier this week, Blue agreed to drop a lawsuit against the city in exchange for permission to destroy the buildings and help preserving or rebuilding the facades. The agreement would make way for the Iron Quarter development. Preservationists have criticized Fischer for not being transparent in his decision to make the deal.
After cutting the ribbon on a new restaurant next to the Iron Quarter site, Fischer defended his decision to WFPL.
“It certainly was not a back room deal. It was done in the day of light and we have 90 days if somebody wants to have an alternative solution. What I was faced with was a potential emergency order by the court where the city would have lost all control over what happened to the Iron Quarter. I thought it would have been reckless to enter into that type of situation,” he says.
Both Blue and the city contend that the buildings are dangerous.
“Well we can’t find anybody to go inside the buildings and evaluate them because they’re not safe so safety is the number one issue,” says Fischer. “And then we have to understand what the potential developments for Iron Quarter are bring everybody to the table and hopefully something can happen there. But Mr. Blue owns the property and he’s going develop it in a way that’s keeping with the character of downtown.”
Blue says there is no reasonable way to save the buildings in their entirety, but if anyone is willing to try, they can buy the strip from him in the next 90 days. He says no other developers are interested in the property.