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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Pub Restaurant on 4th Street Live has run dry, marking the latest in a long line of businesses to leave the block.
Armando Rojas showed up to a closed Pub Restaurant on 4th Street Live Tuesday to help clean out the kitchen and found the lights on but no one inside. "Oh it's bad," he said, "felt bad because I had been working here almost nine years."
The closure comes as the Pub's parent company battles 4th Street Live's developer in court. Cordish claims the Tavern Restaurant Group hasn't paid rent since March. The restaurant says it has paid, but Cordish used the rent money for unreasonable maintenance fees.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said on Tuesday, "So I hate it when any business closes, but it's the nature of business itself that, somebody else, a new concept will pop up."
This isn't just private business. Taxpayers have $26 million invested in 4th Street Live's success. You could just walk down 4th Street and remember what used to be. Remember the Red Star Tavern, or PBR Louisville, or Saddle Ridge.
It was a controversial change from Lucky Strike to the Sports and Social Club. What is now Fudge used to be Gumbo. And Borders is now a brewery. What is concerning to some is that every example except the bowling alley happened on 4th Street in the last two years.
Mayor Fischer says, "When you have close to five million visitors visit a particular location in our city and it's been in such hot demand by Convention and Visitors Bureau people, can see it's been a success for us."
Mayor Fischer recently ordered a study to analyze 4th Street's success, but the author says the city overexaggerated the findings. Economic analyst Paul Coomes says, "The press release, which I didn't review, the first sentence says there was a three to one return on investment of the public's money on 4th Street Live, which is not supported by my study."
When asked whether he was saying we do not know what the return on 4th Street is or will be, Coomes responded, "Well, we know some of the returns and that's in the study. But I don't think you can put it in strict financial terms."
One thing that's more clear is that Cordish finds new businesses quickly and Rojas wonders what will be here next, because he knows some people who need jobs.
Cordish did not return our calls for comment. When asked whether companies leaving had anything to do with the developer, Mayor Fischer said Cordish is the best entertainment operator in the world.