Three views of the updated Mesh restaurant design  proposed as part of redevelopment of the  Bauer property.

Residents  and neighbors cheered the passing of an revised proposal before Wednesday’s evening’s meeting of Individual Landmarks Architectural Review Committee.

The ARC approval will make way for the development of a new doctors office and a Mesh Restaurant on the site of the Bauer’s Tavern, which was last housed Azalea Restaurant.

A battle has raged over the property for years, with property owners wanting to replace an historic but crumbling building, and preservationists wanting to preserve what began in the 19th Century as a blacksmith and wagon repair stop.

The revised plan is something of a compromise. It calls for the studs from the north and east walls of Bauer’s Tavern, to be used on the foundation of the northeast corner of the new doctors office, but not the interior siding or interior plaster, or floors or ceilings.

Metro Landmarks staff recommendations were adopted as part of the approval.

One recommendation requires the developers notify the Landmarks Commission when the two walls will be moved so Commission staffers can oversee that component of the development. Another recommendation was that the signage on the doctors office must be opaque. All the proposed parking lot lighting must be submitted to the Landmarks Commission for approval.

The developers will also have to use wood-clad windows.

This plan was put together at the last minute to ensure the dimensions of Bauer’s Tavern are retained in the construction of the new doctors office building, along with maintaining actual components of the building.

The developers presented the revised plan to the committee and public for the first time at Wednesday night’s meeting. Before the vote, Vadim Kaplan, president of Studio A architecture, explained what was different about the new plan including the intent to preserve as much as possible of the existing building:

The four committee members present voiced appreciation for the efforts by the developers to find a solution that incorporated the preservation of at least some component’s of Bauer’s Tavern. Bob Vice, Edith Bingham, Herb Shulhafer, and Daniel Preston, all voted unanimously to approve the revised plan. The two committee members who were not present were Jim Mims and Jay Stottman.

The final vote and the cheering crowd:

More than 50 people had crowded the conference room for the meeting for what is hoped to be closure on what will come of Bauer’s property. Some people who arrived at the meeting late were left standing, both due to the shortage of chairs and lack of spaces to place the chairs if they had them.

At one point in the meeting, a citizen started to ask a question about the plans, which were significantly modified from the proposal at the last meeting in February … which did allow for public input.

That’s when Committee Chairman Bob Vice cut off the speakers, telling him, “I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s out of order.”

There was some grumbling following the meeting by a few people who felt due process lacking because the public was only allowed to give input on the original plans, and not the developer’s revised plans.

“I think it all worked out for the best,” Metro Councilman Kenneth C. Fleming told us following the meeting.

Outside the meeting, Fleming gave this statement:

A few hours before Wednesday’s meeting, Insider Louisville broke the news that there had been a last minute design submission by the developer.

In that post, we lacked information on two points:

1) We represented the revised plans that were to be considered were from Tim Winters, and included a more traditional design for Mesh Restaurant than the initial design. In fact, the last-minute design that was submitted as part of the approval was still contemporary, but the plan for pre-cast panels over the windows was left out.

2) Also, we wrote: “there are two designs – a new one preservationists apparently support (above), and the original they’re not so wild about.”

In fact, most people in the room had never seen the revised proposal, which wasn’t completed until 3:15 p.m. for the 5:30 p.m. meeting.

Curtis Morrison, a former Insider contributor, is now a Whittier Law School J.D. candidate (expected graduation May 2016).


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