Odd Fellows Building

The Odd Fellows Building is located at the corner of W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard and S. Second Street in downtown Louisville. (WDRB Photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While the city considers demolishing downtown Louisville's Odd Fellows building, a group of residents who oppose the plans say are trying to preserve its history.

The Omni Hotel owns the rights to the building — which sits on the corner of West Muhammad Ali Boulevard and South Second Street — and requested it be demolished in 2019. It argued that the vacant brick building has bad pipes and undrinkable water and isn't suitable for retail or other uses without significant investment.

The building currently has a historical landmark designation, which prevents it from being torn down, but Metro Council is expected to review the designation next week.

"Omni has not proposed any recent development," said Steve Wiser, who organized a rally Wednesday to save the building. "They just want to demolish this and create another vacant lot."

In 2019, Omni Hotel officials said in a statement that they could build "an indoor/outdoor entertainment area that better utilizes that valuable downtown space." However, there have been no proposals submitted to the city.

Along with protecting the history of the building, those opposing the plans say it would waste just under $500,000 in taxpayer money for demolition.

Organizers at the rally said they'd be open to discussion about other ways to use the building as long as it stays intact.

"We think there's a lot of other great ways that Omni or others could redevelop this site," said Heath Seymour, who spoke at Wednesday's rally. "There's plenty of things to do, and we'd love to talk about that. But right now, we're here to save this building."

Louisville Metro Planning and Zoning is expected to meet next Tuesday to review the landmark designation for the building.

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