Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that the city plans to purchase Colonial Gardens, a historic South End landmark near Iroquois Park, to gain control of the property and market it for redevelopment.
From the release:
“I believe Colonial Gardens has great potential and my economic development team is eager to market the property. With the proximity to the park and the Iroquois Amphitheatre, there is potential for a broader redevelopment strategy in the area,” Fischer said.
The Mayor introduced an ordinance at Metro Council today to purchase the property for $430,000 and the lead sponsor is Councilmember Marianne Butler.
Ted Smith, Director of Economic Growth and Innovation, said the city is already in preliminary discussion with a potential buyer.
“There is a range of opportunities and interests that center around recreation, dining and drinking,” he said. “If you look at the history of establishment it’s a great kind of congregation spot.”
Colonial Gardens has been closed and empty for years and was listed in 2012 as one of the 10 most endangered historic places in Louisville by Preservation Louisville.
It was built by entrepreneurs Frederick and Minnie Senning in 1902 and it operated as a restaurant and, later, a zoo and beer garden. Fred Senning was a German immigrant who arrived in Louisville in 1868.
Colonial Gardens was designated a local landmark in 2008. Smith said only part of the building has landmark distinction. Future developers would need to work within the bounds of protective restrictions that apply.
He said he’s been told the building’s condition should not inhibit redevelopment.
The city sees Colonial Gardens as an anchor for a broader redevelopment of the New Cut Road corridor and the area in general, Smith said.
“By any estimation, it’s full of promise,” he said.