Whiskey Row Developers Ask For More Private, Public Money

by Devin Katayama on May 11, 2012

Whiskey Row/Iron Quarter (photo by Sheila Ash)The group of developers that have taken the lead on renovating Louisville’s historic Whiskey Row is asking for public and private support to save the strip on Main Street.

When the Main Street Revitalization LLC group bought Whiskey Row, it received a $1.5 million forgivable loan from Metro Government. The members also promised to spend some of their own money to save and develop the strip of buildings that were nearly demolished by developer Todd Blue, who sold them for $4.8 million.

The estimated cost to stabilize the structures is $7 million, which is around $4.5 million more than originally thought. To fill this gap, the group will create a fund with help from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which will be supported by private donors.

The fund will first and foremost feed money to the Whiskey Row project, but would then remain in Louisville to support other preservation projects around downtown.

But that’s only half the money needed.

The group is also challenging Metro Government to match a $1 million dollar private donation from Christy Brown. On hand were several council members, among them President Jim King, who joined the mayor in accepting this challenge.

“I’ve already talked to some council members who are already committed to the challenge grant and to utilizing, to whatever extent they need, some of their neighborhood development funds or capitol infrastructure funds that are in the budget,” said King.

Neither King nor Mayor Greg Fischer would not commit that $1 million solely in public funds. Rather, they hope to partly help raise private donations to save the buildings.

The fundraising is only to stabilize the buildings, but team member Valle Jones said once complete traditional funding methods would be used to complete the project, like certain tax breaks or loans.

Developers have been in conversation with possible tenants.

“We have had conversations with numerous interested tenants, both that we’ve reached out to and that have reached out to use,” developer Craig Greenberg.

But, the team is not yet prepared to discuss what businesses might make up the new Whiskey Row.

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