Drama rekindled over demolition of historic Whiskey Row


by Gene Kang


Posted on February 10, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 12:51 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)-  There is a battle over the buildings on Main Street.
Some call them an eye sore, but others are fighting to save them because they are considered historic.

There is no shortage of drama when it comes to these old warehouse buildings near the KFC Yum! Center, known as Whisky Row or the Iron Quarters.

"I'll give you my Whiskey Row when you pry it from my cold, dead hands," said preservationist Curtis Morrison.

Protestors spoke out Thursday morning as three groups joined forces: Open Louisville, Preservation Louisville and Neighborhoods Planning and Preservation joined forces.

Preservationist Ken Wilson said, "Behind New York City, we have the second largest collection of these buildings. This takes away a big chunk of that, this is history."   

Here is the problem - city of Louisville and developer of Whisky Row came to an agreement earlier this month. Developer Todd Blue bought the buildings four years ago and wants to develop them into a hotel. Yet, they remain untouched as they’re tied up in this battle and some local business owners say it's time to do something.

"It's such an eyesore over there people, from out of town come in and ask 'what's going on over there?' Why hasn't anything been done over there? We're just waiting," said Jo Harp of DeVino's Deli Prime Lounge.

In a court settlement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer agreed to allow Todd Blue to tear down the buildings..if the city gets a chance to save the facades.

However, the drama doesn't end there. Preservation groups plan on asking a judge to reconsider the settlement or even file a lawsuit in State Court.

Many preservation groups say in addition to the facades, store fronts and buildings on Washington Street should be preserved.

"I'd like the Metro Council to get off their butts, get an attorney and sue the city, sue the Mayor," Morrison told WHAS11.