Monday, January 23, 2017

$ 5 M plan for Colonial Gardens Renovation

Memories from the south end . Thanks to Mike Gossett formerly of the Bitter Seeds ( find more about them in an earlier blog post )
Developer has plans for food and entertainment
The long-awaited plan to redevelop the historic Colonial Gardens site in southern Louisville across from Iroquois Park took a step forward Thursday when investors filed a $5 million plan to rebuild the site.
The developer, Underhill Associates, filed a plan with the Metro Department of Planning & Design Services that calls for renovation of the Colonial Gardens structure, which has 7,000 square feet of space. Also planned are two new one-level buildings with a shared patio and garden area.
After years of neglect, the property was purchased by Metro Louisville in 2013 for $430,000. The following year, the city approved a deal for the Underhill partnership to develop the property with commercial uses. The site is at Kenwood Avenue and New Cut Road.
The site dates to 1902 as SenningsPark and was the home of the first zoo in the city in 1920. The park closed in 1939. The site was then developed as the Colonial Gardens restaurant, and during the 1940s and ‘50s, many wellknown bands and performers appeared there, including Elvis Presley.
Jeff Underhill, a partner in Underhill Associates, said in an interview Thursday that the city still has title to the property. He said the Underhills intend to begin work on the redevelopment as soon as the site is vacated by the two remaining tenants — a tire business and a Little Caesar’s. At the latest, the pizza store’s lease expires Aug. 14 and won’t be extended, Underhill said.
Underhill expressed hope that the partners could have access to the property before then, though.
He said the Underhills envision three or four restaurants or other food-service-related tenants at the rebuilt Colonial Gardens. He said the intent is to offer space for events and entertainment and for the site to cater to people coming from and going to the Iroquois Amphitheater across the street. He said the renovation should take 12 to 18 months.
In a statement, Mayor Greg Fischer said the planned “redevelopment will establish Colonial Gardens as a key anchor to South Louisville and Iroquois Park once again.”
In statements issued by their offices, Metro Council President David Yates, D-25th District, said that the historic site had sat vacant for too long, and he touted the expected eco-
See GARDENS, Page 4A
Colonial Gardens was built in 1902 at New Cut Road and Kenwod Drive.
Proposed design for a remodeled Colonial Gardens site.

Continued from Page 3A
nomic impact the redevelopment will have.
And Dan Johnson, D-21st, who represents part of South Louisville, said, “ When it opens, Colonial Gardens will not only restore a historic piece of the neighborhood, it could be the economic spark I have long advocated for in this area.”
In an effort to stabilize the two-story historic portion of Colonial Gardens, three deteriorated northern additions of the building were recently removed by the city. Inspections determined that the additions were in danger of collapse. The agreement between the city and the Underhills calls fordevelopment of at least 16,000 square feet of new retail, restaurant and commercial outlets on the property.
Colonial Gardens has been closed and empty for a decade, and it was listed in 2012 as one of the 10 most endangered historic places in Louisville by Preservation Louisville.
According to documents filed with metro regulators on Thursday, the several restaurants will be “gathered around a common outdoor courtyard space with parking located along the rear of the site.”
The developers said the two proposed sister buildings will “contribute to the spirit” of the site.
Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at 502-582-7089, or via email at sshafer@courier-journal. com.
Proposed design for the remodeled Colonial Gardens.

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