Kentucky again fails to sell Grocers Ice building in Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky again fails to sell Grocers Ice building in Louisville

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The Grocers Ice and Cold Storage on East Main Street dates back to 1906. The Grocers Ice and Cold Storage on East Main Street dates back to 1906.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) – Maybe the third time will be the charm.

Despite a series of open houses and a media blitz, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet received no offers on Thursday for the former Grocers Ice and Cold Storage building in Louisville, according to the Cabinet’s purchases division.

Kentucky twice has failed to find a buyer for the vacant property on Main Street that was partially razed for the downtown part of the Ohio River Bridges Project. Hoping to avoid a repeat of last November, when the lone bid didn’t meet the appraisal price, the state set a minimum bid amount of $1.205 million for the June sale.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t receive any bids, but we did have several interested parties attend the open houses," said Andy Barber, a deputy state highway engineer who oversees Kentucky's part of the bridges project. "This is a unique facility, and we’ve known all along we would have to find a unique buyer.

Barber said in a prepared statement that buying the property as right-of-way was a "necessary part of progress" for the project, which he noted is on schedule to be substantially done by the end of the year.

As for the Grocers Ice building, Barber said: "We’ll take some time and decide (the) next steps in the sales process.”

With the building still under state control, Kentucky remains the owner of three properties it bought under the bridges project’s historic preservation plan. The other two – Drumanard near Prospect and the Rosewell estate near Harrods Creek -- also have yet to sell.

In all, as WDRB News reported earlier this year, Kentucky has paid $13.5 million for real estate as part of the $2.3 billion bridges project from which it has yet to recoup any proceeds.

It spent $3.6 million in 2010 for Grocers Ice, a building at 609 E. Main Street that dates to the early 1900s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure has been partially demolished and now includes a preservation easement that limits its future use – all factors that led to the lower asking price, according to project officials.

The 44,628-square-foot building sits on more than three-fourths of an acre just east of I-65 near new exit ramps to I-64 East and I-71 North.

The Transportation Cabinet had planned to funnel proceeds from the sale into the state’s road fund. Earlier this month, Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas told lawmakers that a low cash balance in the fund prompted him to halt some new road projects for a year and rein in spending for the following year.

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