Demolition Watch Updates Offer Good News During National Preservation Month

How about some good Friday news?

There are a couple of updates from the week worth mentioning, especially given how popular this site’s #DemolitionWatch posts have become. So from the Commonwealth’s two biggest cities, I offer some potentially positive outcomes to places on Demolition Watch.

Here are the original #DemolitionWatch posts related to the Jefferson and Fayette County structures. Updates are after the jump.

Louisville Water Company Building

Louisville Water Company Building, ca. 1913. University of Louisville Archives.

First, from Louisville. Last month, I derided “Possibility City” for lack of imagination or possibility with regard to three demolitions on a block slated to become the home of an Omni Hotel. The post warned that “still standing on the block are the old Water Company building and the old Odd Fellows Hall.” Louisville has recently been spotlighted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as the city is turned into a 3-year ‘living laboratory’ so it didn’t make sense for this development to end horribly.

And it appears that it won’t as there’s good news from Louisville Mayor Jim Fischer per the Louisville Courier Journal. The city of Louisville will commit $1 million toward moving all or part of the historic Water Company building. Per the Mayor’s website, “we are committed to saving all or parts of the historic old Water Company Building.” The $1 million has already been set aside by the city to help prepare the site for the Omni Hotel project, and Fisher “would rather use that money to help save some of the building.”

The mayor also outlined three potential outcomes:

  1. Move the entire old Water Company Building;
  2. Move the portico, the fa├žade, and 25 feet of the side walls; or
  3. Move only the portico and place it on public land

We’ll see which outcome is the route taken. I’ll be pulling for #1!

Peoples Bank in Lexington

Peoples Bank rendering.
A lot of movement and a significant amount of progress. You may recall the deadline of May 21 was yesterday. The deadline was tied to a vote by the Lexington Center Corporation’s board meeting. 
During that meeting, the LCC board unanimously voted to allow the iconic Peoples Bank to be relocated somewhere in the Rupp District. A few locations have been mentioned with the most prominent being at Maxwell and South Broadway. 
With that approval, the developer has “generously provided the project with another extension” according to the Facebook group, People for the Peoples. As previously noted, the estimated cost to move the Peoples Bank is $850,000 with funding already being committed by the city and a matching grant from the Warwick Foundation. The $300,000 matching grant requires $250,000 of public support with over half of that having already been raised! Details on how you can help are available here.
Laurel Catto, chair of the Warwick Foundation’s board, was reported in the Lexington Herald-Leader as saying that “this is far, far more than just saving a building. This is a living, breathing monument to our community’s values for respect and inclusion. … (The bank) was designed as a public space.”