1880 Historic Building Collapsed In Butchertown



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Article from the Courier Journal Click to Read the Story at the Courier Journal

Owner of collapsed Butchertown building cites dispute with city over preservation

A building under renovation on Story Avenue in the Butchertown neighborhood collapsed on Wednesday afternoon, and the owner says a dispute with the city over preservation may have contributed to the incident.

No one was injured.

The collapse in the 1400 block of Story happened shortly after 4 p.m., according to a MetroSafe Communications dispatcher.

The structure on the corner of Story Avenue and Webster Street was split into two separate buildings with addresses of 1401 and 1403, each with three stories and with three apartments between the two, said Sgt. Sal Melendez, a spokesman for Louisville Fire & Rescue.

The front half of 1401 collapsed, but no one was inside. There were two apartments in 1401, one of which was occupied, though no one was home at the time.

The building is more than 140 years old, Melendez said.

Bobbie Rushing was the only one in the structure, at home in her apartment in the undamaged 1403 building. She ran out of her apartment when she felt shaking and found a cloud of dust and debris outside.

“It felt like what I would think an earthquake would feel like,” she said

Richard Bruning said he was power washing a building across the street when he took a break and saw an outside wall of the building give way.

“Next thing you know the whole side of the building collapsed,” Bruning said, adding that a plume of dust rose higher than all the buildings on the block.

The owner of the collapsed building, J.R. Hennessey, said he was renovating it to serve as a storefront on the ground floor with apartments above. He has owned it since March 2008, and estimated the building had been vacant since the mid-1990s.

Hennessey said he had been in a dispute with the city Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission which he said may have contributed to the collapse.

Inspectors went to the building Sept. 9 or 10, when Hennessey said he called after finding cracks in a wall.

Inspectors found “a significant bulge” in the brick wall, said Dave Marchal, urban design administrator who supervises the city landmarks staff.

“Everybody there knew that this thing was in trouble,” Marchal said.

Initially Hennessey wanted to put in a temporary support on the outside of the wall while he formulated a permanent plan, but the inspectors advised him to get an engineer’s opinion.

Because the building lies inside the Butchertown Preservation District, Hennessey would need the approval of the Landmarks Commission for any changes to the outside of the building.

Several engineers Hennessey spoke to said they could provide advice, but a contractor would have to agree to carry out any plan. He said several contractors he spoke with advised him the safest thing to do would be to take down the entire wall and build it new.

But when he brought this recommendation to the Landmarks Commission, Hennessey said he was told to get another engineer’s opinion.

“They wanted it done their way or no way,” Hennessey said.

Hennessey said he didn’t think he had enough time to get any permits to make changes to the outside. He said he was consulting with other contractors and working to put shoring support to the inside of the wall when the building collapsed.

Marchal said he was told Hennessey couldn’t afford to rebuild the wall, which Hennessey denies.

Marchal said his office’s goal is to keep historic buildings standing and “we wouldn’t have stood in the way” over a solution that would do so.

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Building For the Future


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Louisville, Kentucky is a city full of historic architecture and neighborhoods dating from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. The Oracle Single Family Homes Revitalization 2009 is  breathing life back into many of these homes that have fallen into disrepair. Some of the homes require extensive work while saving as much of the decorative architecture elements as possible.

With a little imagination you can see how these homes once were full of life and how proud the people who built them must have been.

What would they say today?

The thought that leads to NO action is not thought- it is DREAMING.

We have created a pictorial walk through the process of restoring these few homes. As the process continues there will be updated photos so make sure to check back often.

Please Click To See More Photos

The Oracle Single Family Homes Revitalization 2009


Slide Show 1 August 30,2010

Louisville, Kentucky is a city full of historic architecture and neighborhoods dating from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. The Oracle Single Family Homes Revitalization 2009 is breathing life back into many of these homes that have fallen in disrepair. Some of the homes require extensive work while saving as much of the decorative architecture elements as possible.

With a little imagination you can see how these homes once was full of life and how proud the people who built them must have been. What would they say today? The thought that leads to NO action is not thought- it is DREAMING.

We have created a pictorial walk through the process of restoring these few homes. As the process continues there will be updated photos so make sure to check back often.

Click To Read More

Lead Paint Dangers

Renovation of Houses In the Portland Neighborhood


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Sometimes selling or buying a house has a lot of “red tape” attached to it,
BUT what about
the red tape that is appearing on Portland Avenue?
Work has finally begun on a few houses in the Portland neighborhood that were purchased at the beginning of this year for total renovation. Oracle Design Group Inc. purchased the two properties at 24th Street and Portland Avenue.  This group has begun work to transform them into quality homes. The houses will be made available for rental units for the first fifteen years and at the end of that set amount of time, the properties will be available for purchase.
The work that Oracle Design Group Inc. is looking to accomplish will provide Portland with a safer environment. Oracle Design Group Inc. realizes that many of the older homes in the neighborhood have lead based paint issues.  This will not be the case for the properties they are looking to renovate as proper removal guidelines are being followed to remove the lead.  These attributes of Oracle’s renovation plan will encourage a higher design standard for any future construction in Portland.
The president of Oracle Design Group Inc. is Dr. Mark T. Wright who received his Doctorate in Urban and Public Affairs, Planning and Development from the University of Louisville. He is married to Caryn A. Winter and together they own and operate Oracle Design Group.  Among other honors, Dr. Wright received the President’s Award from the University of Louisville, as well as The Cornerstone 2020 Award for Excellence in Design in a Traditional Workplace. For his work establishing a mentoring program for at risk children in Louisville’s Middle Schools, he was awarded The Apple from the Teachers Award from the Jefferson County School Systems.  In 2001, he was presented The First Annual Architect’s Award for Excellence in Community Design.
Chris Byrd is also a valued member of the Oracle team. He holds a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Kentucky. Mr. Byrd is currently the Project Manager for Oracle Single Family Homes Revitalization 2009.  He is also certified in Lead Safe Work Practices, Lead Worker and Renovator.
The purchase of these few houses should be viewed as successful for our Portland neighbors. Many of the homes were owned by Portland residents that had been on the market for some time without a prospect of a buyer. The homes being renovated will provide quality housing for other Portland residents. Oracle has experience with a variety of housing programs and has developed affordable housing in Louisville and the surrounding areas.
Many in the real estate industry feel that for improvement to happen there must be a mixture of rental and homeowners in our area. We need to consider quality housing for our neighbors who may not qualify to become a homeowner.  There are many residents who may not be able to buy due to situations and circumstances outside their control that deserve quality housing.
The Oracle Design Group Inc. looks to provide this quality as they move forward in the renovations in the Portland neighborhood.

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

Louisville, Kentucky is a city full of historic architecture and neighborhoods dating from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. The Oracle Single Family Homes Revitalization 2009 is  breathing life back into many of these homes that has fallen into disrepair. Some of the homes require extensive work while saving as much of the decorative architecture elements as possible.

With a little imagination you can see how these homes once was full of life and how proud the people who built them must have been.

What would they say today?

The thought that leads to NO action is not thought- it is DREAMING.

We have created a pictorial walk through the process of restoring these few homes. As the process continues there will be updated photos so make sure to check back often.

Please Click To See More Photos

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