Iron Quarter Resolution Good for Blue

My gut reaction to this — looks like Todd Blue gets his way.  The developer of the controversial stretch of buildings on Main Street, once envisioned as a huge retail complex, will get to tear down the buildings in 90 days.  The city will absorb up to $450,000 in cost to preserve the building facades, or build new ones that look just like the old.

If the facade gets preserved, the city's paying

That’s the price Mayor Fischer says he’s willing to pay to stay out of a legal battle with Blue, who still has the option of selling the properties if he can find a buyer.

This will surely be met with protest by preservationists, should Blue actually get through the 90 days and gain the legal right to destruct.

Here’s the Metro news release:

LOUISVILLE (January 31, 2011) — Louisville Metro Government and developer Todd Blue have reached an agreement over the future of a series of historic but severely decayed buildings along Main Street.

Blue has agreed to drop his lawsuit against the city — and the city has agreed to help preserve the facades of the buildings, just east of the new KFC Yum! Center.

According to the agreement reached this morning, Blue has permission to demolish the buildings in 90 days because they pose a public safety hazard.

During this 90 day period, Blue and the city will investigate the best method of either preserving the existing facades or recreating ones with a similar architectural appearance in any future development. This will preserve the fabric of Main Street.

Mayor Greg Fischer will ask the Metro Council to appropriate a minimum of $450,000 in the upcoming budget to help pay for the cost.

“I believe this is the best outcome for both parties,” Fischer said. “This keeps taxpayers from further litigation and removes a safety hazard and will hopefully save the facades for future generations.”

Fischer said he agreed to settle the lawsuit on the advice of Jefferson County Attorney’s office, out of concern that a judge could order the buildings immediately demolished without any chance to preserve the facades. The 90-day period also gives a potential buyer the chance to purchase the properties, which Blue has said he’s willing to sell.

Fischer and Blue agreed the compromise is similar to what occurred with an historic building at 3rd and Jefferson whose facade was incorporated into the downtown Marriott.

“Our company has a history of preservation and a love for the heritage of this community; our projects have always exemplified this,” Blue said. “It’s great to have someone in a position of leadership like Mayor Fischer who has a desire to work and reach a compromise.”