The revelation that developer Todd Blue asked for permission to demolish the cluster of cast-iron buildings along Main Street known as the Iron Quarter has quickly ignited concern from area preservationists, who have started a Facebook group dedicated to salvaging the historic structures.
From Save the Iron Quarter:
We have reached a critical point where action must be taken to save one of the most important contiguous spans of 19th century architecture and history in all of Louisville. We as a community cannot allow the further deterioration of a large stretch of bourbon warehouses continue to the point where the structures are permanently lost and a new report suggests if action is taken soon to shore up the buildings, all or most of them could be saved.
Last night, the Mayor’s Office confirmed that Blue submitted an application to destroy the historic buildings, but said the city is trying preserve the structures.
“The mayor is opposed to razing the buildings,” said Chris Poynter, a mayoral spokesman.
After hiring a structural engineer, however, The Courier-Journal reports that Blue’s Cobalt Ventures issued a press release saying the demolition request is an “emergency.”
With the new downtown arena scheduled to open later this year, Mayor Jerry Abramson has reportedly met with Blue several times and was pressuring him to let the string of old whiskey warehouses go. Blue purchased them for $4.3 million back in 2007, announcing an ambitious, multifaceted $50 million project.
The dilapidated buildings have become an untouched eyesore since.