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Update on the Azaleas building

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Mark R.

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Update on the Azaleas building

by Mark R. » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:33 pm

Here's an article from Insider Louisville listing recent developments: http://insiderlouisville.com/news/2013/01/25/cunningham-restaurant-group-signs-letter-of-intent-for-azalea-property-in-east-louisville/ it will be interesting to see if this really goes through!
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Ned A » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:11 pm

To me this issue recalls the past debates about Todd Blue and Whiskey Row. Can property owners sit back, let a building crumble from neglect, and then have the city declassify it's historic property status?

I worked at Azalea for about 3 years, up to and including our last night of operation. In the year before we had renovated the women's bathroom, as well as parts of the interior dining room and kitchen. The major problem was the ancient plumbing that ran under the patio, and the inability/unwillingness to come to terms with its repair (money, historical status, etc.). We still used the cellar for storage without any issues (did have some standing water during hard rains - nothing a sump pump wouldn't have fixed). To me it seems like many of the current issues really stem from neglect of the property, which has led to vandalism, a fire, damage from weather, etc.

I would love to see another restaurant open there, but don't know if I could get myself excited if it were a new building, which sounds like the way it is headed. It also seems from the blueprints in the articles like parking will be pretty scant once everything is completed.

Lastly, i wonder if this is related to this previous thread? Although it doesn't necessarily seem so.
http://forums.louisvillehotbytes.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=20267
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Mark R. » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:10 pm

I definitely agree that it seems like much the same technique was used here in order to be able to demolish the building. Hopefully, Metro government won't let them do it, but I certainly won't hold my breath. As far as parking goes, the drawing shows about 150+/- parking spaces behind the building, which I believe exceeds the code requirements. It will be interesting to see what actually happens with this location.
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Greg R. » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:22 pm

Mark R. wrote:I definitely agree that it seems like much the same technique was used here in order to be able to demolish the building. Hopefully, Metro government won't let them do it, but I certainly won't hold my breath. As far as parking goes, the drawing shows about 150+/- parking spaces behind the building, which I believe exceeds the code requirements. It will be interesting to see what actually happens with this location.


Whatever your opinion on historic preservation, the damage here has been done. The building is no longer usable. If renovation was feasible it would have happened. It sits on PRIME restaurant/retail real estate on the wealthiest corridor in the metro with virtually no competing businesses in close proximity. My understanding is that countless numbers of our city's best and brightest have toured the property and left saying not only "no" but "hell no". It's way to risky. Not only financially but from a PR standpoint as well. Suppose you get started on the reno and you find a nasty surprise (likely). You're going to get "Todd Blued" big time if you so much as pause to gather your thoughts.

Tear it down and let's take a look (again) at our historical statutes and make sure they are working as intended. Do we make it too hard/expensive for owners to keep up their properties? Do they find themselves in situations where the options are do nothing or spend $1million with no options in between? From the outside looking in it sure looks that way.
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Ned A » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:26 pm

I agree that the building probably needs to go at this point, but what a shame. That is certainly one of the most iconic restaurant spots in the city and was always, IMHO, the best patio in the city by far. I would rather not see it move into the longtime eyesore status as became the situation with Frank Farrris and Ginny's Diner with adjacent property, so in the long run I may tend to support plans to rework the property.
That being said, maybe the city regs are such that there is no middle ground as Greg R suggests, but I admit my ignorance in that arena. I would certainly agree with changing those in ways to allow this not to be the inevitable outcome if such is the case. I don't however, understand the motivation to let some of these historic and beautiful properties wither away, and then replace them with new build outs which can be eyesores in their own right (although some are beautifully done and not eyesores). I also think that we definitely lose out as a city when we raze our history and charm to give way to things like this. I wouldnt call adding multi-unit businesses and medical offices a win for the city in this scenario.
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Rob Coffey » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:39 pm

Not all old buildings are historic. When a building truly is historic, its "historicity" adds value to the building, which provides incentives for the owner to maintain it. And if they cant afford it, they can find someone to buy it at a premium and pay for the restoration.

When you cant find someone willing to take it over and restore it, it probably means it isnt really historic.
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Matthew D » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:25 pm

Rob Coffey wrote:Not all old buildings are historic. When a building truly is historic, its "historicity" adds value to the building, which provides incentives for the owner to maintain it. And if they cant afford it, they can find someone to buy it at a premium and pay for the restoration.

When you cant find someone willing to take it over and restore it, it probably means it isnt really historic.


So the market decides what is and isn't historic? I'd hope not.

For instance, I bet there were multiple points in the history of the train station that is now part of Slugger Field where no one was interested in buying/using/restoring that dump. But, someone found a use for it, and I am sure most of us are glad they did.

I don't know enough about the Azaleas building to comment on it. But I can only hope we don't use the real estate market as a means to define what is and is not historic.
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Rob Coffey » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:19 pm

Matthew D wrote:
Rob Coffey wrote:Not all old buildings are historic. When a building truly is historic, its "historicity" adds value to the building, which provides incentives for the owner to maintain it. And if they cant afford it, they can find someone to buy it at a premium and pay for the restoration.

When you cant find someone willing to take it over and restore it, it probably means it isnt really historic.


So the market decides what is and isn't historic? I'd hope not.


I see no problem with that. It can take lots of forms, it could exist by pro-historians opening their pocketbooks and buying lots of old properties to preserve, via, say, a non-profit. If they arent willing, clearly they dont consider it that historic.

Better the decision made by the market than by force.
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Mark R. » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:22 pm

The whole discussion about preservation/renovation/destruction of historic properties boils down to the fact that Metro government is powerless! Take for example the classic car dealership at the corner of Taylorsville Road and Hurstbourne Parkway. The owner of the dealership put fake stone on the entire building in violation of historic preservation guidelines. It went round and round between the two involved parties and nothing has been resolved. Just goes to show that historic preservation codes have no strength locally except when it comes to building a multimillion dollar tunnel as part of a bridge project!

Now back to our food discussion....

Let's hope whatever type of restaurant ends up occupying this location will be a great asset to the community and hopefully also have a nice patio!
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Carla G » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:09 am

I just saw on the WAVE 3 news site this morning that a new restaurant from the Grisanti Group will be opening up in the old Azaleas building. It's called Mesh. A clink on an attached link in the article took me to a web site that looked to be two years old.
Anybody know anything?
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Robin Garr » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:49 am

Carla G wrote:
Anybody know anything?

Here ya go ... 65-post thread from September. 8)

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=21216
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Charles W. » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:51 am

Carla G wrote:I just saw on the WAVE 3 news site this morning that a new restaurant from the Grisanti Group will be opening up in the old Azaleas building. It's called Mesh. A clink on an attached link in the article took me to a web site that looked to be two years old.
Anybody know anything?


It's an historic website.
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Re: Update on the Azaleas building

by Carla G » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:05 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Carla G wrote:
Anybody know anything?

Here ya go ... 65-post thread from September. 8)

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=21216


My bad. Sorry. I should have done a search for Mesh on this site instead of Azalea.
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