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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro is soliciting bids from potential developers for Colonial Gardens.
Colonial Gardens was a beer garden, a night spot, and a neighborhood gathering place at New Cut Road and Kenwood Drive. Built in 1902, it operated as a restaurant and later, a zoo and beer garden.
The property has been the subject of economic development conversations and neighborhood concerns for several years. A building on the site has landmark status and has been reviewed by some developers. The city purchased it for $430,000. Preservation Louisville listed the property in 2012 as one of the 10 most endangered historic places in Louisville.
"I believe Colonial Gardens has great potential and my economic development team is eager to market the property," Mayor Greg Fischer said in a news release. "With the proximity to the park and the Iroquois Amphitheatre, there is potential for a broader redevelopment strategy in the area."
The request for proposals says the city is looking for a developer with "significant experience in retail development." It says the site would be used for retail, restaurant, commercial, or office development, but that the city would not consider a strip mall. Among the uses suggested for the area are a sit-down restaurant, casual dining, ice cream shop, community room that could be rented, and a beer garden.
The city will also look at how many permanent jobs could be created, an ability to finance the project, and the timetable for construction.
Although there are two buildings on the site that a developer will be allowed to demolish, another building designated as a historic landmark must be restored.
After reviewing and rating the proposals, the city will negotiate with the prospective developer to come to an agreement. Any development agreement will come back to the Metro Council for approval.