In 2011 a group of preservation philanthropists and investors came together to purchase 5 iconic buildings on “Whiskey Row” in downtown Louisville (111-119 W Main St). These Victorian era warehouse and merchandise buildings were threatened with imminent demolition. In addition to stabilizing these 5, the project also stabilized and restored the facades of 2 adjacent buildings (105-109 W Main St).
In May 2015, the investment group sold 2 of the buildings to Brown-Forman. Brown-Forman is now converting these into the Old Forester Distillery which will include a visitor experience, a cooperage and a fully functional distillery.
In July 2015 the remaining 3 buildings, where renovation work was already underway, were involved in a catastrophic fire. After many months of stabilization and shoring as well as a complete redesign, the buildings were renovated in 2016 – 2107.
Now known as 111 Whiskey Row, these buildings are now home to the first major new retail store to locate in downtown Louisville in decades, 12 residential apartments, and will soon include 2 offices, 2 restaurants plus a one-of-a-kind speakeasy.
This development was only possible because Vital Sites provided deeply subsidized financing through funding provided by Metro Louisville and Christy Brown, one of the investors. This is a great example of the power of critical gap funding for pivotal developments. Redevelopment of historic property on the Whiskey Row block has resulted in the development of 3 major new hotels on that same block. Taken together this will results in hundreds of new jobs, business opportunities, new residents for downtown and a 24 hour live-work-eat-play-stay block that will be one of the most vibrant in the city.