LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Wrestling champs and fired up fans once rocked the house at The Louisville Gardens.

The popular venue hosted weekly matches for decades, some that Louisville native Calvin Mayes still remembers to this day.

"I think it was about in '78 and '79.   used to go to wrestling all the time there, and I love it," Mayes said.

Others reminisce about sporting events and concerts held in the historic space.

Elvis Presley and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. even graced The Gardens stage back in the day.

But that was then, and this is now: more than 200,000 square feet of city storage space.

Adding insult to injury, last week's severe storm damaged portions of the building's roof, costing the city more than $400,000 to replace.
That's on top of the $250,000 dollars paid each year to keep The Gardens standing.

"We want to see it come back as soon as possible, but I want it to be done in a quality way," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

The mayor turned down several offers from developers who wanted to transform the venue into housing or mixed-used property. Deep down, he said he wants to see The Gardens relive its heyday as an event venue.  

"We've got a 5,000-6,000 seat bowl in there for viewing. We don't have something of that capacity in our city," Fischer said.

The Gardens near 6th and Muhammad Ali Blvd isn't as small as The Louisville Palace, but not as large as The KFC Yum! Center.  

Mayor Fischer said he's confident the right developer, with the right plan, is coming soon.

"With the increase investment in downtown and more people moving downtown, I would expect to see more creative, high-quality proposals. And when we get the right one, we'll be ready to roll," he said.

The mayor hopes to issue another request for proposals within the next year.

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