Rendering of the Main and Clay development from a Metro government filing
Rendering of the Main and Clay development from a Metro government filing

A proposed 260-unit condo and apartment complex at Main and Clay streets in Butchertown received the final go-ahead before construction from Metro government this morning, after the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission formally denied an appeal seeking to revisit the planned demolition of four historic buildings on the site.

Bristol Development Group, the Nashville-based firm behind the $48 million project, must still obtain building authorization from the city, largely a formality at this point. In addition, the developer is seeking Metro Council approval of a $4.4 million tax increment financing plan that would rebate a portion of future taxes generated at the site to the developer.

“With this, and assuming the Metro Council sees fit to approve the incentive requests, then we’d be ready to break ground as soon as the current property owner can relocate their business,” Bristol CEO Charles Carlisle says. The Trompter Co. still operates on the site, at 637 E. Main St.

Expect the first shovels of dirt to turn in July or August, Carlisle says.

Attorney Steve Porter, representing historic preservation interests, appealed a decision last year by the Butchertown Architectural Review Committee to green light the $48 million project, arguing the committee did not have enough evidence to support demolishing the majority of four historic buildings on the site. He requested an economic and architectural analysis of the individual buildings.

At this morning’s hearing, Bristol presented additional analysis of the four buildings, which considered whether they still contribute significantly to the character of the neighborhood and whether there is a strong economic case for their demolition. Porter says he’s satisfied with the conclusions.

“The main thing we accomplished — and I think accomplished it very well — whenever (the Architectural Review Committee) considers a demolition, it needs to look at it building by building,” Porter says.

The proposed seven-story mixed-use complex — with average rents around $1,500 — has stirred conflict in recent months between historic preservation interests and proponents of new development. The developer plans to incorporate the facade of one of the buildings, at 614 E. Washington St., and elements of the others on the Main Street side.

“If you look at the first two stories on Main and Washington, you’ll see sort of a story told about what was there before because it’s all incorporated into our building,” Carlisle says.

Porter says this morning’s hearing was the first time the commission considered the economic feasibility of redeveloping or fully incorporating the historic buildings into the planned new design.

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Stephen George
Stephen George is news editor of Insider Louisville. He is a former editor of LEO Weekly and the Nashville City Paper, and a former news editor of the Nashville Scene. He has written for various other news and culture publications and is happy to be back in Louisville.