Whiskey Row celebrates reconstruction 1 year after massive fire; bracing supports removed
Almost one year after a massive fire, Whiskey Row is coming back.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One of Louisville's most historic properties was almost lost in flames. But the revival effort of Whiskey Row is in full effect.
"There is no block as significant in the history of our city, relative to our native spirit, than the block we are standing on right now," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
Whiskey Row celebrated a significant milestone on Wednesday.
Roughly one year later, leaders announced that the final pieces of bracing on the Main Street side of Whiskey Row were removed, since the buildings' infrastructure has been deemed safe enough to stand on its own.
"You know we had to try and stabilize the building, save this façade and use a lot of concrete and steel posts down here. I live in the city, it doesn't make a difference where I go, people want to know when we're going to take those supports down, and so now we have those down," said Head of Construction Ron Carmicle.
A construction accident sparked a devastating fire at the site last July, almost taking down the buildings completely.
"To come in and see about five years of work, that we'd been working to try and salvage and save these structures, to see the level of fire, it was very disconcerting," Carmicle said.
City leaders honored the Louisville Fire Department and construction crews for their work to save one of Louisville's most historic properties on Wednesday.
"Without the help of the Louisville Fire Department and Sullivan & Cozart's construction team, these buildings would not be standing today," said Craig Greenberg, Co-Developer of Main Street Revitalization LLC. "It is difficult to see from street level, but since Thanksgiving, our crews have been hard at work rebuilding these structures."
The next step is to connect the walls of the buildings and put a roof up.
Samples of materials salvaged from the 2015 fire were on display Wednesday, including 60,000 bricks, hundreds of original poplar ceiling joists and many original cast iron pieces that were salvaged from the buildings and are currently being stored off-site. These will eventually be returned to the buildings and repurposed.
After that, officials say it'll be like any other construction project.
"While our time line has changed, our mission is the same: to preserve these historic, important buildings to the community and give them new vibrant life to help the continuous revitalization of downtown Louisville," said Steve Wilson, member of Main Street Revitalization LLC.
Plans for the building call for 12 apartments, a level of office space and several major restaurants.
Officials expect to reveal what tenants are moving in in the coming weeks.
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