Developer wanted for a historic South End Building
Colonial Gardens operated as a restaurant and hang-out spot in the South End for several decades. The building was originally owned and operated by B. A. Watson, but due to numerous issues, closed its doors in June 2003. The one-hundred-and-eleven year-old building has remained vacant in recent years and Louisville officials are now looking for a developer for the site. The Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government has announced a request for proposals in hopes to draw possible developers for the 2 ½-story building and surrounding land.
In April, Business First reported Louisville officials pushed to attain Colonial Gardens. The historic property is near South Louisville’s well-known Iroquois Park. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a news release, “I believe Colonial Gardens has great potential, and my economic development team is eager to market the property.”
In 2012, Preservation Louisville, a nonprofit who aims to preserve the small-town character of Louisville, listed the Colonial Gardens property on the list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in the city of Louisville. The city recently purchased the property for $430,000 and the RFP (Request for Proposal) states Louisville “is seeking a developer with significant experience in retail development to redevelop the site as a mixed-use retail, restaurant, commercial or office development.” The RFP will be open through July 31, calls for preservation and renovation of a part of the existing building at Colonial Gardens, and a minimal construction of one new building on the property.
Mayor Fischer also highlighted Colonial Garden’s location as an incentive. “With the proximity to the park and the Iroquois Amphitheatre, there is potential for a broader redevelopment strategy in the area.”
Colonial Gardens sits directly across from Iroquois Park at the intersections of New Cut Road and Kenwood Drive. With Churchill Downs, Louisville International Airport, the fairgrounds, and the hoped-to-be-restored Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom a few miles away, Colonial Gardens is definitely worth saving and restoring for the sake of Louisville’s character.