Court Challenge to Whiskey Row Agreement Could Come This Week

Iron Quarter (photo by Sheila Ash)Preservationists may soon file paperwork asking a federal judge to reconsider his decision on the Whiskey Row buildings at First and Main Streets.

Judge John Heyburn II recently approved an agreement between Metro Government and developer Todd Blue. It allows Blue to destroy the buildings in early May to make room for a parking lot and later a development.

Preservation attorney Steve Porter says he plans to ask Heyburn to reconsider his approval of the agreement and make it open for renegotiation.

“At least that all the parties involved, including the judge, would have a hearing to make determinations along those lines, as opposed to just the owner of the buildings having the absolute final say, which is the case now,” he says.

Porter says he’d like to make sure the buildings, or at least their facades, are saved. Blue has said if anyone thinks they can preserve the buildings and develop the property, they can purchase the land from him. The city and the Downtown Development Corporation are seeking buyers who will save five of the seven buildings.

The city’s agreement with Blue gave Metro Government 90 days to figure out the best way to preserve or recreate the facades, though Blue is not bound to save them. The city struck the deal because of concerns that Heyburn would rule in Blue’s favor and grant him permission to destroy the buildings with no delay or caveats.