LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- The old historic buildings that make up Whiskey Row in the 100 block of West Main Street in downtown Louisville are no longer in danger of falling down.
That means the reopening of a street at the north end of the row of buildings.
On Wednesday, fences that have blocked traffic will be removed, and Washington Street will be reopened to traffic and pedestrians after being closed for almost two years.
All seven of the facades along this block of Main Street have been preserved. "The success here is that the Whiskey Row facade is intact," says Ron Carmicle of the McCall Group overseeing the stabilization of the buildings.
They were constructed in the late 1800's. Some had been abandoned for decades, so there was severe water damage causing some of the interior of the buildings to collapse.
But seven months of intense labor saved as much of the buildings as possible. "The end result," says Carmicle, "is three buildings that are fully intact, ready for future development, and two others where the interior has been removed but the structural walls have been saved."
So the buildings are no longer in danger of falling down. That means Washington Street is once again safe for cars and pedestrians.
Businesses on Washington Street say the re-opening has been a long time coming. "We are really looking forward to it," says Ben Barker, manager of the Troll Pub, "the amount of traffic that is going to come through here is going to be fantastic for us, it gives us good exposure."
Work continues on two facades on the corner of First and Main, so the covered walkway along Main Street will remain in place until at least spring.
Plans to develop the site into a major attraction continue. "It will be more of a food and live entertainment attraction," says Valle Jones, one of the developers of the project, "I will say it will draw not only locals but tourists; we are trying to make something very significant happen in that block." Jones says detailed plans will be revealed in a few months.
Meantime the reopening of Washington Street should bring some life back to the area right away.
"The Yum! Center generates a lot of interest and a lot of traffic through here," says Carmicle, "so I think on some warm afternoons it will be a nice spot for fans to hang out here on the sidewalk."
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