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'Whiskey Row' Development Seeks Funds, Residents

Developers have announced plans to renovate two historic buildings in downtown Louisville for housing and commercial space.The Whiskey Row project will bring 27 residences as well as new offices and restaurants to the buildings across 2nd Street from the new arena. The project is scheduled to open along with the arena in 2010, even though construction funding has not been secured. Developer Bill Weyland says that’s not an unusual situation.“We get the announcement made so that we can start to meet with a bigger variety of potential tenants," he says. "We will refine the design. We’ve this on every project that we’ve undertaken over the past ten years.”Whiskey Row is expected to cost $18 million. Weyland says funding will likely fall into place once Wall Street recovers from its current banking crisis. At that time, Mayor Jerry Abramson expects the area of downtown around the arena to flourish, even though it currently lacks some retail necessities.“I don’t know very many people who don’t get in their car and go to the major grocery once a week," says Abramson. "So when people say to me, ‘Where’s the major grocery downtown?’ I think at some point, when there’s sufficient numbers of folks, there’ll be a decision made. But at this point I scratch my head when people say there’s no grocery downtown and therefore it’s not ready.”The money needed to renovate the buildings for Whiskey Row hasn’t been secured, but the developers expect the funds to fall into place once they find tenants and once the current banking crisis is resolved.

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