SLIDESHOW | Inside The Louisville Gardens as potential buyer takes tour
A closed down venue that is part of Louisville history may have a new buyer.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A closed down venue that is part of Louisville history may have a new buyer.
The Louisville Gardens has hosted Elvis Presley, Harry Truman and endless sold-out professional sporting events. But recently, the historic building in downtown Louisville has fallen on hard times. Since 2008, The Louisville Gardens has remained empty and somewhat of an eyesore.
On Monday morning, Alan Omar, a New Jersey businessman, toured the facility and shared his vision for bringing The Louisville Gardens back to life.
"What we see here is an opportunity to do well," said Omar. "Our interest is not only for the business that we can provide. We want this to be the place to be."
Omar owns a solar company in New Jersey, but says he has also completed a number of development projects and feels confident he can restore The Louisville Gardens to its past glory. "The building is a solid building, when they made this building, they made this building because they knew how to make good buildings," said Omar.
"It was that great atmosphere and environment, where it was like theatrical, where it was real close, all the crowds going crazy," explained former Basketball Player Chartrael Hall.
Hall played basketball for Manual High School and Ballermine University. He remembers playing at The Gardens in high school in the LIT.
The gardens was home court for Louisville's last professional basketball team.
Hall said, "You talking about the Kentucky Colonels, I know my history."
"This whole corridor was vibrant with businesses and culture, rich culture. And we need to bring that back," said Jefferson County Commissioner Kathleen Parks (D).
Commissioner Parks reached out to Omar about the project last year.
"I've been talking to Mr. Omar over the telephone for about what -- 4 to 6-months now," said Parks.
Omar also has the support of a local civil rights icon.
"It is a waste for history to just lay dormant," said Civil Rights Icon Mattie Jones.
Jones also shared more of the building's rich history. "This was the place we had all of our concerts, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, all of them have been in this building here."
The New Jersey Businessman has not shared his vision with Mayor Greg Fischer, but WDRB News did ask Fischer about the visit.
"Well, we are starting to see more and more proposals, so we don't comment on individuals proposals," said Fischer. "What I can assure the city of -- is when a proposal comes in and we accept it, it'll be something everybody will be very happy with."
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