The community group Neighborhood Planning and Preservation says the failed Museum Plaza project demonstrates a growing need for a historic district in downtown Louisville.
Hope for the 62-story, $490 million building was scrapped Monday when developers announced they were canceling the project due to an unfavorable bond market. Preservationists point out there has been little mention of the city losing historic buildings along Main Street, which were razed to make way for the development.
Neighborhood Planning and Preservation board member Curtis Morrison says it was considered reasonable at the time to only preserve the facades when the project was first announced, but now the city is left with little to show for it.
“The remaining facades do what facades tend to always do, conceal a less pleasant reality,” he says. “The less pleasant reality is that our city does not value our historic buildings. Adding the four buildings razed for Museum Plaza, the four Brinly-Hardy buildings cleared in 2003, the two Whiskey Row buildings and three Elmo’s buildings sacrificed in the latest Whiskey Row contract, we’ll have thirteen Main Street buildings razed in less than a decade, and we’ve probably left some out.”
NPP has proposed a preservation area to regulate demolitions and what the facades should look like. It would cover downtown between Ninth Street and I-65 and Kentucky Street to the Ohio River.
Other groups have been hesitant to join the call for a new district, but Preservation Louisville has asked the Louisville Metro Landmarks Commission to revisit the status of historic buildings and asked Metro Government to conduct public forums regarding past surveys of downtown preservation.