LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) --- Two years ago, a fire ripped through Louisville's historic Whiskey Row. Firefighters worked around the clock working to both put out the fire and try to salvage parts of the historic buildings.
"Seeing the images of the fire is nauseating to me, even though I know the story has a happy ending. It's really emotionally upsetting to see what happened and what we almost lost and its inspiring to see the commitment, to know the commitment of investors, who could have taken their money out and said we tried, it didn't work who left their money in and allowed us to go forward," said Valle Jones, Co-Developer 111 Whiskey Row.
Valle Jones is Co-Developer of 111 Whiskey Row. We spoke her back in 2015 as she watched crews battle the 3-alarm fire that nearly destroyed the historic stretch of buildings she was working to redevelop.
Since, fire crews were able to save the historic facades and some of the interior walls, the project and buildings survived, but required a new start.
"We basically threw away all the plans that we had on the day of the fire, they were worthless, we had to start all over again, come up with plans to do temporary stabilization, and then come up with plans to do full renovation," said Jones.
Now two years after the fire, Jones showed us some of the progress they have made. Keeping historic details and adding replicas of details like store front doors and ceilings.
Jones says they are poised to open apartments on September 1st, then retail will come this fall, and office space and restaurants in the next year.
"We are going to have a bar venue in the lower level, we will have two restaurants on the Washington street level, where we are standing here is the main street level, this will be a very large Duluth Trading, first retail to come to downtown, first major retail to come to downtown in over 20 years. Above us we will have a floor of office space, then the top two floors will be residential apartments, so we will have retail, restaurant, office and residential apartments,” said Jones.
"I think the lesson from the fire and from the effort to bring these buildings back and the success that we are having is that historic buildings are invaluable, that they are an asset to the community that you can’t produce in new construction," said Jones.