Weyland versus Duggins on two-way property development.

Photo credit: Broken Sidewalk.

Broken Sidewalk tells the story of developer Bill Weyland’s latest Louisville rehab project.

City Properties Group is planning to converting the 125-year-old Louisville Chemical Building on the northeast corner of Jefferson Street and Hancock Street into a mixed-use complex of apartments and retail …

… Weyland is the right fit for this rehab project—he’s probably renovated more old buildings in and around Downtown than anyone else. His most notable projects include the Henry Clay, the Guthrie-Coke Building on Fourth, the Whiskey Row Lofts, and the Glassworks Building. Like these other historic renovations, Weyland plans to help fund his latest project using historic tax credits.

In at least one significant way, Weyland’s checklist of necessary preconditions for success differs from those blithely discarded by Jeff Gahan during the run-up to corporate welfare for Flaherty-Collins and its subsidized construction of “luxury” apartments at the former Coyle site in New Albany.

“Jefferson Street needs to be two-way,” Weyland said. The five- to six-lane one-way road behaves more like a superhighway that results in dangerous conditions for all road users. Just last month, two motorists collided at Campbell Street, sending their cars into an uncontrolled spiral that hit a 160-year-old townhouse and causing its eventual demolition.

Insider Louisville heard Weyland make the very same point.

“Everything works in concert with each other,” Weyland told IL. “As we get more residents, there will be additional opportunities for restaurants and retail.” One hindrance, however, could be Jefferson Street, he said. The street needs to be turned into a two-way road, providing people easier access to Liberty Green and the medical district and making it safer by slowing vehicles.

“It is critical from my standpoint,” Weyland said.

In the beginning Flaherty and Collins made similar noises, to the effect that the firm would “prefer” to see Spring and Elm functioning as two-way streets, because a proper street grid would support their investment in luxury housing, not hinder it — as truck-choked, one-way interstate traffic tends to do.

But just as quickly, New Albany’s economic dishevelment czar made it clear that Flaherty and Collins was perfectly content to accept massive public monetary lubricants with or without a rational street grid. It’s easy to imagine the back alley conversation:

Flaherty and Collins: Listen, hayseeds, these things work better with the correct infrastructure.

Duggins: Do you want this pile of money, or not? By the way, the slot for Gahan campaign donations can be found in my right rear pocket.

Our reigning suburban-thinkers? They’re not finished yet.