Local News Next Louisville

By Rick Howlett

A stretch of historic buildings on Louisville’s West Main Street long known as Whiskey Row have been granted local landmark status.

The structures, some of which date back to the late 19th century, have been the focus of a battle between preservationists and developer Todd Blue, who says they’re unsafe and wants to tear them down to make way for a hotel complex.             

Blue has promised to save the buildings’ facades and incorporate them into his Iron Quarter project, but preservation groups gathered enough petitions to bring the matter before the Metro Landmarks Commission, which unanimouslyapproved the landmark status Monday night.

That means Blue (pictured below) will have to present a development plan to the commission before moving ahead with his project.          

 “While I’m undeterred, it does get frustrating as a busines owner in the private sector, to try to come to be in your own community, taking economic risk,  and just have the thought of marketability, tenancy, and leasing, just to be second thought – versus – I think the people in this room would rather have buildings sit empty and saved forever,” Blue said after the meeting.                

Blue filed a lawsuit late last week against Metro Government, seeking to move the project forward.

(Photo of buildings by Gabe Bullard)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."