Louisville Magazine

MAY 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/300717

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Page 33 of 120

5.14 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3 1 www.eclipsebank.com www.shalimarlouisville.com Johnson hired a lawyer and threatened to sue Yates for libel. Te issue died without any other action from either side, but it was not the frst time or the last that Colonial Gardens became a headache for Johnson. In 2008, four South End busi- nessmen formed an investment group to buy the building and raze it to make way for new development. Johnson sided with neighbor- hood organizations that opposed demolition and successfully sought a landmark designation to prevent that action. Area realtor Tommy Lee Gailor, a brother of one of the investors, says the landmarking limited the partners' options and led them to walk away from the deal. He blames Johnson for not being statesmanlike and bring- ing the two sides together. "Johnson had an opportunity with Colonial Gardens and he let it slip through his fngertips," says Gailor. "Now it's just an eyesore." Last year, fve years after the deal went sour, the city purchased Colonial Gardens for $430,000, asking for proposal submissions from private developers to buy and revamp the property, with fnancial sweeteners from metro government thrown in. Recently, the only taker, Underhill Associates, which is also redeveloping the former Americana Apartments on Southland Boulevard, accepted a deal in which the city will turn ownership of the property over to Underhill for $1 and provide the company with a $1.2 million construction grant. Te only holdup is the need to persuade a Little Caesars Pizza now located on the property to move, because the goal is to attract locally owned restaurants and shops rather than national chains to the site. As you might expect, the 2008 developers are burned that Underhill is getting a generous deal when they couldn't fnd support for a project that would have cost the city nothing. One of Johnson's tasks was to ask the owners of Sister Bean's Cofee House — now farther down New Cut Road — to consider moving to Colonial Gardens when construction is complete. It turns out that one of the cofeehouse's owners, Teresa Girodo Gailor, happens to be the wife of one of the original investment group's partners, Rusty Gailor, and she let Johnson know in no uncer- tain terms on Facebook that his part in the 2008 landmarking of Colonial Gardens wouldn't help attract her business. For now, South End residents are waiting for the situation with Little Caesars to be resolved so they can move forward. Johnson, in the mean- time, is going about business as usual. "My goals for the next term are to fnally get an NBA team here, which we are working on hard at this mo- ment," he says. "To continue paving and doing what we have been doing taking care of people's problems as they arise. We had a gentleman who called the other day because he couldn't get his garbage picked up because it was in an orange bag. We fought all the way to the mayor's ofce trying to get that picked up yesterday." 24-31 Dept.indd 31 4/21/14 11:25 AM

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