LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Construction is taking longer than expected on a new downtown Louisville bourbon attraction. Structural problems inside a historic building are delaying the project.
Michter's Distillery executives say they remain committed to opening a micro-distillery in the historic Fort Nelson Building on the northwest corner of 8th and Main Streets. "This is one of the jewels along Main Street that has been around since the 1800's," says Louisville architect Cash Moter of the firm Joseph and Joseph.
But it is a jewel that badly needs some polishing. Last fall workers had to erect a giant steel brace on the east side of the building to stabilize it. That left a portion of 8th Street between Main and River Road only one lane, but it allowed engineers to safely enter the building to see exactly what kind of condition it was in.
The verdict was that it was in much worse shape than originally thought. The four-story building had been vacant and neglected for more than 40 years after serving mostly as a warehouse.
"There were some slight modifications we had to do to our original structure design because of soil conditions under the building," Moter explained.
That will put the completion of the renovation about a year behind schedule. Michter had hoped to open its micro-distillery by the end of this year; but the additional work required will keep that from happening.
It is also likely to drive up the cost of the renovation that had been estimated at just over $7 million.
"We will be putting a new steel cage inside the building to hold the brick wall up," adds Moter, "the foundation for that needs to be supported a little bit differently than we originally planned."
But Michter executives say they will still with the project that is expected to transform the building into another major Main Street tourist attraction that will join other bourbon attractions along this part of downtown.
The new micro-distillery is across Main Street from the Louisville Slugger Museum, one of the major tourist draws in all of Louisville.
The bracing on the east wall of the building is expected to come down by the end of this year once the building is stabilized from the inside. That will allow a portion of 8th Street to once again have two lanes of traffic.
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