3 historic state-owned properties back up for auction - WDRB 41 Louisville News

3 historic state-owned properties back up for auction

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Drumanard Estate Drumanard Estate
Rosewell Estate Rosewell Estate
Former Grocers Ice and Cold Storage building Former Grocers Ice and Cold Storage building

PROSPECT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Historic properties purchased with your tax dollars are back up for auction, but the strings attached could be a concern for potential buyers. 

“Grand”, “warm”, and “welcoming” were words used by visitors to describe the Drumanard Estate at an open house Tuesday. The historic mansion owned by Kentucky taxpayers is back up for auction, along with the Rosewell Estate and the former Grocers Ice and Cold Storage building in downtown Louisville.

"We've had very good turnouts for all three properties this week,” said Mark McCoy with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The properties are on the national register of historic places and cannot be torn down. Since the properties were right in the path of the Ohio River Bridges Project, the state spent over $13.5 million to buy them. 

Even more tax dollars have been spent on repairs and up-keep over the years. The properties have been up for auction several times but haven't sold. 

"There has been a certain sense of the unknown,” McCoy said. "The previous bids that we had ... the project was still underway.”

Now that the bridges are done, the state hopes to make a sale, but historic preservation requirements could make that a difficult task. 

"One of the reasons why these properties may be difficult to sell is that under the bridges project, certain preservation easements had to be placed on them,” WDRB reporter Marcus Green said. 

The easements limit the changes owners can make the properties. 

"Anyone who is interested in buying a piece of property like this, the easement is something that would be of concern,” McCoy said. 

The prospective property owner may have difficulties adding a satellite dish or making a small improvement without first getting state permission.

While the state bought the Drumanard Estate for just over $8 million in 2012, the starting bid last year was $3.5 million. This time around, McCoy said the state will accept any “reasonable bid” on the property.  

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