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.

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

9 thoughts on “Bauer property redevelopment goes forward after approval of revised plan

  1. Pingback: Finally! Plans for new restaurant near old Bauer’s Tavern site moves ahead. | Food & Dining Magazine
  2. Do preservationists call this a victory? They couldn’t win at letting a rundown building rot in the middle of a nicely maintained neighborhood, so they’ve gotten the new owners to save and reuse a few studs that won’t even been seen in the final, rebuilt edifice. Wow! Score one for that team.
    Do preservationists see how petty this makes them look? How silly and self-centered they’re cause truly is?
    This was not paving paradise to put up a parking lot, it was a reasonable fight to get rid of neglected structure that was too expensive to save and replacing it with something usable.
    If preservationists wanted it saved, then they should have bought the building.
    I’m for protecting structures that represent our heritage and have historical value, but this was not one of them. If it were, perhaps someone would have cared to do something about it earlier.
    When does the landowner get to say, “I own it, I’ll build on it what I choose.” The Bauers didn’t ask to build a gaudy strip club or hog farm, they merely wanted to get rid of a decayed building so someone else could add some value to the property.

  3. Do preservationists call this a victory? They couldn’t win at letting a rundown building rot in the middle of a nicely maintained neighborhood, so they’ve gotten the new owners to save and reuse a few studs that won’t even been seen in the final, rebuilt edifice. Wow! Score one for that team.
    Do preservationists see how petty this makes them look? How silly and self-centered they’re cause truly is?
    This was not paving paradise to put up a parking lot, it was a reasonable fight to get rid of neglected structure that was too expensive to save and replacing it with something usable.
    If preservationists wanted it saved, then they should have bought the building.
    I’m for protecting structures that represent our heritage and have historical value, but this was not one of them. If it were, perhaps someone would have cared to do something about it earlier.
    When does the landowner get to say, “I own it, I’ll build on it what I choose.” The Bauers didn’t ask to build a gaudy strip club or hog farm, they merely wanted to get rid of a decayed building so someone else could add some value to the property.

  4. No, preservationists, real ones, call this bait and switch. You bait the commission into land marking the site, then turn around and complain when the property owner fails to maintain a building to the point where it’s now an “eyesore”. Then you bring in your generic Salvation Army of cure alls, an upscale Chili’s lookalike and a lookalike new Bauer’s, destroy the trees and landscape for more parking,……you don’t know the history and like so many others with opinions unsupported by fact, you pontificate using lack of reearch and only surface knowledge of the subject. But hey, they turned the biggest landmark in the state, Churchill Downs, a National Historic Landmark, into a combined casino with large warts on either side of the twin spires and redid the interior to resemble a Hampton Inn, and nobody said a word.
    As far as what the owners can do, they didn’t do anything. And if you want to discuss restrictions, go buy a house in Mockingbird Gardens or some other tightly regulated what color can your mailbox be little cliche subdivision with a forty page book of rules.

  5. No, preservationists, real ones, call this bait and switch. You bait the commission into land marking the site, then turn around and complain when the property owner fails to maintain a building to the point where it’s now an “eyesore”. Then you bring in your generic Salvation Army of cure alls, an upscale Chili’s lookalike and a lookalike new Bauer’s, destroy the trees and landscape for more parking,……you don’t know the history and like so many others with opinions unsupported by fact, you pontificate using lack of reearch and only surface knowledge of the subject. But hey, they turned the biggest landmark in the state, Churchill Downs, a National Historic Landmark, into a combined casino with large warts on either side of the twin spires and redid the interior to resemble a Hampton Inn, and nobody said a word.
    As far as what the owners can do, they didn’t do anything. And if you want to discuss restrictions, go buy a house in Mockingbird Gardens or some other tightly regulated what color can your mailbox be little cliche subdivision with a forty page book of rules.

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