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There Is Still Hope For Old Louisville Water Co. Building

City officials are reviewing a single proposal to move the old Louisville Water Co. building.

The building currently sits on the site of the future Omni Hotel developmentnear Third Street and Muhammad Ali Blvd in downtown Louisville.

Local and state preservationists have been fighting to save the building for months.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer last month gave preservationists 30 days to develop a plan to save the building. The options Fischer presented included moving the building in its entirety—with some limitations—or moving just the building's facade or portico.

Incorporating the building into the near $300-million Omni development would be too costly, Fischer said.

In the 30 day span, city officials received just one proposal for the building, said Jessica Wethington, spokeswoman for the city's economic development department.

She declined to provide details on the proposal, like who it came from and what it entails, but she said "the proposal is being reviewed by staff."

As WFPL previously reported, state and local preservationists had a difficult time finding interested suitors for the historic structure. The building is more than a century old and is not currently being used for any official purpose, according to a city spokesman.

Craig Potts, the state historic preservation officer, said preservationists' goal was to save the entire building, which meant finding a space within a six block radius to move the building to. At that time, he said a parking lot would be the most likely space for building.

But, with parking lot space at "a premium," Potts said many property owners weren't interested in parting with revenue-generating space.

Hudson Holdings, a Florida-based development group, expressed interest in submitting a proposal for the building earlier this month, according to a report from the Courier Journal. The group also purchased the Starks Building earlier this year.

Marianne Zickuhr, executive director of Preservation Louisville, said a meeting with developers, architects, preservationists and city officials last week regarding the old Louisville Water Co. building yielded positive results.

"I was very happy with the results and hope that it showed metro how a concerted effort with creative and diverse minds at the table can produce the smart growth we are looking for," she said in an email.

Wethington said city officials are also evaluating the possibility of extending the deadline to come up with a plan to save the building. The initial deadline was June 20.

The next step in the Omni development process is to present the plan to the Downtown Development Review Overlay committee on July 1, Wethington said.

And she said "there will be plenty of additional opportunities for public input moving forward."

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.