Whiskey Row preservation
by Sheldon S. Shafer
Stabilization and selected demolition work designed to preserve a string of historic buildings called
Whiskey Row on West Main Street in downtown Louisville is winding down.
Washington Street between First and Second streets, on the north side of the Whiskey Row buildings,
is to reopen Wednesday after being closed for nearly two years, said Ron Carmicle, managing partner
of the McCall Group, the owners‘ construction agent. The long-closed sidewalk along Washington
also is to reopen to pedestrians.
“We are really looking forward to having the (Washington) street reopened,” said Ben Barker, general
manager of the Troll Pub Under the Bridge at Second and Washington. “I’ve heard some complaints
from customers that it’s a pain” having the street closed, Barker said.
He said the reopened Washington also should improve traffic flow to and from the adjacent KFC
However, the sidewalk situation along Main between First and Second streets on the north side of
Whiskey Row – where a wood-covered walkway extending into the street has been erected for two
or more years – will remain until spring.
Carmicle said some stabilization work along the Main Street side of two properties on the eastern end
of the string of buildings – owned by developer Todd Blue, who is not part of the preservation group
– will take another two or three months.
The decision on reopening the Main Street sidewalk between First and Second is up to the city, and
Dave Marchal, a manager with Metro Codes & Regulations, said it’s uncertain when that might
The string of historic properties extends from I 0 I to 119 W. Main St. The tract on the east end is
vacant, and the two easternmost building sites are under Blue‘s control.
Under an agreement, the preservation investors agreed to demolish two structures on the sites, saving
only the facades that are still being stabilized, Carmicle said. Blue eventually can use the sites for
parking, pending their development.
Three buildings at 111 , 113 and 115 W. Main have been saved in their near entirety.
And two others at 117 and 119 have been stabilized and their facades and a separation wall preserved,
but the rest of those two structures were demolished because they were in such dire disrepair,
Carmicle declined to say how much the investors had budgeted for the stabilization and demolition
work, but he said the work is within budget.
He said millions of additional dollars will likely be needed to build out the string of buildings,
including putting in elevators, stairwells, roofing, windows, mechanical systems and all interior
Valle Jones, a spokeswoman for the investment group, declined to speculate on when the
preservationists might have something to say about tenants for the property. But she said “we are
having some interesting conversations with potential users” and ” things are progressing.”
The investors are working on a marketing and reuse plan for the properties. The plan is expected to
include bourbon-themed activity, offices, restaurants and apartments for the 150,000 square feet of