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Last week, we told you the outcome of how – or whether – the Bauer property in East Louisville gets redeveloped hangs on plans that were still in development.

Today, our sources forwarded plans the property owner began releasing  yesterday, detailed renderings by Studio A Architecture of Louisville called “elevation plans.”

Those renderings seem – a dangerous word – to conform to what developers promised and what residents demand.

As we reported, the Bauer family who owns the property on Brownsboro Road just east of Crescent Hill Golf Course wants to replace the vacant Azalea restaurant with a medical office and add a new restaurant on a parcel just east of the Azalea building.

Azalea restaurant, formerly Bauer’s 1870 Tavern. (Photo by Broken Sidewalk)

While the developer contends the original building can’t be saved, his attorney told IL redevelopment of the site –  which dates back to a 19th Century blacksmith and wagon repair stop – will respect the historic nature of the property.

The attorney for the affluent Mockingbird Gardens neighborhood told us last week that he’ll seek to ensure any plans comply with the letter of agreement between the neighborhood association and Bauer.

Again, seemingly to both points of view, the proposed doctor”s office that would replace the historic property bears an uncanny resemblance to the contemporary version of the original, which was Bauers’ 1870 Tavern restaurant, then Azalea.

“From Brownsboro Road, it looks like (the original Bauer’s) so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone pulls up and tries to order a Benedictine sandwich,” said Bauer attorney Bill Bardenwerper, referring to a Louisville speciality once on the Bauer’s menu.

However, we’ll have to wait a while to find out if that’s the consensus.

Michael Tigue, an attorney for the Mockingbird Gardens Homeowners Association, said he and his clients are still reviewing the plans.

Tigue said everyone affected by the proposal had not seen the elevation renderings. “(The renderings) haven’t been circulated to all the people who need to see them, so I’m going to have to defer comment,” he said.

Tigue added that he and Mockingbird Gardens residents are having discussions with the landowner and the developer, trying to work out a final agreement, discussions he described as cordial and productive.

One elevation rendering shows a white clapboard building housing the medical offices, though construction materials are not specified. The proposed building appears to be a twin of the Azelea building including a dormer for what appears to be for a second floor.

A second rendering of the proposed new restaurant, which would be under the “Mesh” brand of Indianapolis-based Cunningham Restaurant Group, is shown as having a contemporary stone verneer, limestone accents and metal panels.

The restaurant would be about 7,500 square foot, with the medical office at 5,300 square feet.

Tigue said last week that his clients’ position is that any new construction or renovation will have to be executed “with respect for the historical significance of the property.”

The association wants to ensure new plans comply with the letter of agreement between the neighborhood association and Bauer, said Tigue, who practices at Middleton Reutlinger in Louisville.

Any new construction would have to pay homage to the historical nature of the site as well as compliment the surrounding neighborhood, he said.

“We’re not willing to compromise the historical significance of the property for just any old thing.”

The elevation plans are scheduled to be presented to an Architecture Review Committee meeting of the Landmarks Commission scheduled for Wed., Feb. 27.

Redevelopment of the property, which is near some of Louisville’s wealthiest neighborhoods, has been contentious for years. The Landmarks Commission previously approved significant changes to Bauer property including the Azalea building.

In May 2010, the commission’s architectural review committee green-lighted the demolition of the newer additions in the back and a total re-skinning of the entire exterior as part of the proposed development of a new restaurant, which never happened.

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Terry Boyd
Terry Boyd has seven years experience as a business/finance journalist, and eight years a military reporter with European Stars and Stripes. As a banking and finance reporter at Business First, Boyd dealt directly with the most influential executives and financiers in Louisville.

11 thoughts on “Proposed Bauer property redevelopment plans show twin to historic tavern, contemporary new Mesh restaurant

  1. Is it too early to thank the Landmarks Commission? Maybe, but just
    slightly. If it weren’t for the commission and the historic
    preservation values it represents, the Bauer’s site would have been long
    gone, a patch of asphalt or something else that degrades our
    community’s spirit.

  2. Is it too early to thank the Landmarks Commission? Maybe, but just
    slightly. If it weren’t for the commission and the historic
    preservation values it represents, the Bauer’s site would have been long
    gone, a patch of asphalt or something else that degrades our
    community’s spirit.

  3. With all due respect to the members of Mockingbird Gardens who have the closest proximity to the landmark, they are not the only stakeholders, and I’ve heard other members of our community are just not on board with this plan.

    Metro Landmarks are just that…the designations are given to Metro Landmarks.

    Think of a Louisville without Churchill Downs? Because that’s the Louisville we may end up with if we allow a precedent that the closest property owners make the rules. We are ONE community, and if there’s anything that should express that it should be a profound respect for our shared history, and sense of place.

  4. With all due respect to the members of Mockingbird Gardens who have the closest proximity to the landmark, they are not the only stakeholders, and I’ve heard other members of our community are just not on board with this plan.

    Metro Landmarks are just that…the designations are given to Metro Landmarks.

    Think of a Louisville without Churchill Downs? Because that’s the Louisville we may end up with if we allow a precedent that the closest property owners make the rules. We are ONE community, and if there’s anything that should express that it should be a profound respect for our shared history, and sense of place.

  5. I think clapboard is the term you’re looking for, not clabbered. Unless the white paint particularly reminds you of spoiled milk.

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