City recommends partially razing W. Main St. buildings for hotel project after revised preservation plan | In depth

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A Metro government planning report published Friday now recommends the partial demolition of six buildings on West Main Street for a proposed Dream Hotel.

The recommendation and others in the updated report will be considered at next Wednesday’s meeting of the West Main Street Architectural Review Committee.

The move could resolve a sticking point that arose earlier this year over just how much of the historic buildings would be incorporated into the 10-story hotel and mixed-use project that would overlook I-64.

The architectural review panel delayed action on the developer’s request in February in an effort to find a compromise between preservationists and the hotel group.

Initial plans for the 169-room hotel razing nearly all of the buildings between 811 and 823 W. Main St. while incorporating the 19th-century front facades.

But the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission urged the decision-making review committee to reject the demolition because it wouldn’t meet the city’s guidelines and preservation goals.

The Dream Hotel group’s modified plan calls for saving more than 58 feet of the buildings’ front sections.

By preserving more of the structures, the project will keep intact exposed outer walls and “significant portions of interior party walls,” the report says. “This will retain a significant portion of the original form, massing, and historic fabric of the principal facades which are visible from Main Street.”

Metro staff “determined that the revised plan is an acceptable compromise” that “helps create a story of changes to the buildings over time, rather than almost wholesale demolition and reconstruction, and is not likely to significantly impact the historic integrity of the district,” historic preservation specialist Katherine Groskreutz wrote.

The report also says the new construction planned for the project meets the necessary guidelines.

The buildings are within the West Main Street Historic Preservation District and the West Main Street National Register District. They date from the mid-1800s and are known for their distinctive cast-iron storefronts.

C & P Real Estate has owned the four easternmost buildings since the early 2010s, according to online property records. The Owsley Brown Frazier Historic Arms Museum Foundation has owned the two parcels on the western side since 2011 and 2012, respectively, records show.

The Frazier History Museum is not part of the development plan.

At a meeting in early February, project officials argued that their original demolition plan was the best way to build a modern hotel with adequate windows and other amenities. They said most of the buildings aren’t worth saving.

But Louisville preservationists and others urged a compromise that would keep more of the buildings intact.

The review committee is scheduled to meet at 5:30 pm March 30 to consider the new recommendations.

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