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