Bauer's / Azalea's Building After Fire (Photo courtesy Joanne Weeter)
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Earlier this summer, a small fire broke out at the old Bauer’s / Azalea Restaurant building at 3612 Brownsboro Road. After the smoke had cleared, a tipster snapped these photos of the boarded up former blacksmith shop dating to 1868. From what we can tell, the fire was set by a group of kids who were apparently trespassing. As you can see, very little damage was done to the building. Once up for demolition, the structure was declared a Local Landmark by the Metro Landmarks Commission after a substantial neighborhood outcry, but development plans continue for the site.

Current property owners, the Charles F. Bauer family, have revised their plans to build a Rite-Aid Pharmacy on the site and to preserve some of the existing building. Now, the proposal calls for a nearly 15,000 square foot stand-alone pharmacy built with more traditional materials such as brick with a coffee shop and potentially another retail space in the old Bauer’s Building. A total of 80 parking spaces are planned for the pharmacy and coffee shop.

Changes to the original structure must be reviewed by the Metro Landmarks Commission, but Cynthia Johnson who is handling the case for the city explains that from submitted elevations, only modern kitchen additions will be removed. The front facade facing Brownsboro Road should remain intact as well as a brick terrace and an addition from the 1950s that have been characterized as contributing elements of the historic property. A full demolition plan is required to complete the process.

The building was originally built as a blacksmith shop, wagon workshop, and general store operated by John Bauer in 1868. A couple years later, a cafe serving sandwiches and beer was added to serve traffic along a major toll road into Louisville. John Bauer’s descendants transformed the establishment into a more traditional restaurant serving American fare that operated until the 1980s when it was sold. Renovated in 1984, the structure later housed Latin-themed restaurant La Paloma and then Azalea restaurant.

No hearing date for the project has been set. Revised plans were submitted by the developers last week and a meeting with neighbors has been arranged for Friday to review the changes. A hearing could happen as early as late October or November, but planning officials say the project should definitely be approved by the end of the year.

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