Blue Says Money Is Key to Saving Whiskey Row Facades

by Gabe Bullard on February 28, 2011

Whiskey Row/Iron Quarter (photo by Sheila Ash)It’s still unclear whether the facades of a strip of buildings at First and Main streets can or will be saved.

Developer Todd Blue has just over two months before he can destroy the buildings to make way for a parking lot, then for the Iron Quarter development. The city has agreed to find the best way to preserve or recreate the facades, and Mayor Greg Fischer will ask the Metro Council to approve a $450,000 budget allocation to help Blue follow through on the plan.

But many council members are skeptical that the facades won’t be saved, and they may not allocate the money. Blue says he needs the money to save any parts of the buildings.

“We obviously in 2007, when we proposed the original Iron Quarter project, it was always just to save the facades and then [build] the development behind it. At that time it was Humana and at that time the city agreed to pay for the facades to be saved. So it would be a very similar pathway that it was in 2007.”

Preservationists also want a guarantee that at least the facades will be saved.

“These buildings have a lot of brick, a lot of glazed tile, stone and everything, and once you tear all of that down, you can’t recreate it. Just a little bit of the iron, you might be able to put back, but you can’t recreate the architecture that’s in those buildings,” says preservation attorney Steve Porter.

Porter, Blue and Tommy Clark from Mayor Greg Fischer’s office all discussed the issue on WFPL State of Affairs Monday. Listen here.

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