Local News

Preservation Louisville To File Petitions On Iron Quarter Buildings

by Gabe Bullard

Applications will be filed Thursday morning to have the so-called Iron Quarter buildings in downtown Louisville declared local landmarks.

Preservation Lousiville has been gathering signatures for the petition portion of the applications since late April. That’s when the building’s owner, Todd Blue first filed a request to demolish the buildings to make room for a new development. Blue contends that the row of buildings is too unsafe to save, but he intends to preserve the facades.

Preservation Louisville executive director Marianne Zickuhr says she wanted to have the petitions filed before the demolition request was considered.

“We wanted to be as quick as possible in our response because we wanted to have the petitions done, signed and in hand way before either deadline, that way our point was being made quite clearly.”

The Waterfront Development Corporation will review Blue’s application to demolish the buildings, while the Landmarks Commission will consider Preservation Louisville’s request. A spokesperson for the mayor says while the WDC is not connected to the Landmarks Commission, it’s unlikely the demolition permit would be approved while the landmark status is in question.

Local News

Iron Quarter Battle Hampers Nearby Businesses

by Stephanie Crosby

Two business owners who have poured millions of dollars into new developments near the new arena say the ongoing battle over the Iron Quarter is hampering their business. Tom O’Shea and Bill Whelen spoke today at the Louisville Forum.

Tom O’Shea is the owner of several bars and restaurants in Louisville, including the new Patrick O’Shea’s on Main Street. He says barriers have recently gone up near his property to keep people away from the area known as Iron Quarter – in the 100 block of West Main. The developer there, Todd Blue, is seeking to demolish the buildings, but preservationists are trying to block the effort.

In the meantime, O’Shea says his business is being affected.

“The fence that’s out there has really kind of hampered out beginning process, the lack of pedestrian, sidewalk usage and parking on that has been really tough on us,” says O’Shea. “So the sooner the better on whatever does happen.”

Bill Whelan, developer of Whiskey Row, says it’s affected their business too.

Blue’s request to demolish the buildings would have to be approved by the Waterfront Development Corporation and the Landmark Commission.

Local News

City Rejects Iron Quarter Demolition Request

by Gabe Bullard

The fate of the so-called Iron Quarter buildings at First and Main streets will soon rest in the hands of the Waterfront Development Corporation; an emergency request to demolish the buildings has been rejected by Metro Government.

Since purchasing the historic buildings in 2007, Developer Todd Blue of Cobalt Ventures has planned to preserve the facades of the buildings, but replace the rest of the structures.

The project is still on hold, but last week, Cobalt filed an emergency request to demolish the buildings, citing an engineer’s report that said the strip was too fragile to safely preserve.

The city disagreed and rejected the request, but Cobalt attorney Graham Cohen says the buildings are not safe.

“The only thing we know is what the engineer has told us and that is they are in serious jeopardy of collapse due to the structural decomposition.”

Because of the buildings’ location, the new request for demolition must be approved by the Waterfront Development Corporation. Cohen says Blue still plans to preserve the buildings’ facades.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Group Lists City's Most Endangered Historic Places

endangered-01-shoutgun1A Louisville group identified the city’s 10 most endangered historic places along with some positive news. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Preservation Louisville released the list today along with the city’s top 10 preservation successes. The group praises the renovation of the US Marine Hospital in the Portland neighborhood and Corbett’s, an eastern Louisville restaurant housed in a mansion that was part of a dairy farm.

Both lists reference Louisville’s shotgun houses. The successes include Habitat for Humanity’s rehabilitation of such a house in the city’s west end and the endangered list includes all the city’s shotgun houses, says Preservation Louisville’s executive director Marianne Zickuhr.

“They’re a very big part of our heritage and our history,” Zickuhr says. “And the fact of the matter is that they’re being torn down all over the city at a rapid pace.”

Zickuhr says Louisville has the most shotgun houses just after New Orleans and that this is the first time a local preservation group has released a list of successes.

“The successes are really a way for us to help the community understand that you can be a good steward to these buildings,” she says, “and you can be a part of to helping to keep that historic fabric of our community intact.”

Also among Louisville’ 10 most endangered historic places are structures in Iron Quarter of West Main Street and historic buildings in the Water Company block, which is to be developed by the Cordish Company as Center City District. The company also built Fourth Street Live.

Zickuhr says that preserving historical properties does not inhibit obstruct property development.

“It’s a protection,” she says. “It’s something that will help the developers in the future to keep the property values going up because of the how important the historical significance of their property is.”

Zickuhr says developments like downtown’s Henry Clay building are good examples. It houses apartments, a restaurant, a theater and offices.


Louisvilles Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places List
Shotgun Houses
Water Co. Block Historic Buildings
Victorian House on Frankfort Avenue
Historic Firehouses
Old Dental School at Brook and Broadway
Park Hill district
Corner Store Fronts
Historic Properties within the Proposed New Bridge Route
Iron Quarter
Ouerbacker House

Louisvilles Top 10 Preservation Success
US Marine Hospital
Wayside Buildings
Vogt Building
Henry Clay
Reynolds Building
American Standard
1254 S. Brook St.
Howard Hardy House
Corbetts Restaurant
1702 Prentice St. (Habitat for Humanity House)

Criteria used to determine if a property is added to these lists:
1. On the National Register of Historic Places or be eligible
2. Within the metro Louisville region (Jefferson County; Floyd and Clark counties of southern Indiana)
3. For most endangered list – in imminent threat of demolition or in severely deteriorated condition