Construction is ramping up at 111 Whiskey Row where a fire tore through three historic structures last summer. “We are under construction,” Valle Jones, a member of the development team called Main Street Revitalization, told Broken Sidewalk. “We’ve been working on it for a while, but the first few months were debris removal.”
Since cleanup and stabilization wrapped up last fall, the team has been reworking the project’s structural system. A crane has been on site for a month lifting construction material up and over the existing party walls.
“What was left was not structurally strong enough to build on,” she said. Now, the team is finalizing a design for an “internal skeleton” of steel that will support the development inside its historic walls.
“We’re driving subsurface micro-piles to create a foundation,” Jones explained. The new structural system will be anchored on this foundation to support new floors inside the historic brick walls. “The overall shape will be virtually the same,” Jones said. “Inside it’s new, but on the outside it’s old.”
Bob Haffermann, a principal at Louisville’s K. Norman Berry Architects, is leading the design team. He previously worked on other historic renovations including the Frazier International History Museum and the 21c Museum Hotel. Main Street Revitalization includes Jones, attorney Craig Greenberg, and others.
“We previously provided shoring with steel bracing and temporary floor bracing,” Jones said. That process took several months. “We couldn’t just get in there with a backhoe,” she continued. “It was a very complicated process of taking down unstable bricks by hand.”
Despite the damage, the team was reluctant to discard any materials from the historic buildings. “Anything that has come out of the building has been hand sorted and salvaged,” Jones said.
Despite the structural changes, the program remains the same in the three structures. Plans call for restaurants on the two floors facing Main Street and Washington Street, a layer of offices on the third floor, and two floors of apartments above that. Jones said that no tenants have been finalized, but the development team is in discussions with several interested groups.
“The apartments will lease very quickly,” Jones said. She expected leasing to begin in spring 2017. If all goes to plan, the project will open in the summer of 2017.
Next door, Brown Forman is about to get started with construction on its $45 million Old Forester Distillery.
[Top image by Ted Tarquinio / Courtesy Main Street Revitalization.]