Officials who oversee Greater Louisville’s growing built environment are well prepared to keep up with the spatial demands of living, business and pleasure.
Plan 2040 is a new comprehensive plan for Louisville’s Metro Government. It is designed to help direct Louisville’s growth over the next two decades as the population grows to an expected 875,000-plus residents, an increase of 12% from 2017. Plan 2040 is focusing on five core principles for a vibrant and diverse community: to be connected, healthy, authentic, sustainable and equitable.
“Develop Louisville is in the frontlines of economic development in the city, as it works with developers, home builders and others to not only make sure they have the approvals needed for a project to move forward but also to ensure that those projects fit into the vision for how Louisville should be developed, as set out in Cornerstone 2020 and now Plan 2040,” said Jeff O’Brien, director of Develop Louisville.
An agency within Louisville Forward, Develop Louisville was organized in 2014 and employs approximately 100 people to support the community’s economic development in the built environment.
Restoring underutilized properties to the tune of millions
Through its Vacant and Public Property Administration, Develop Louisville works to restore empty properties to productive use. Since April 2015, the city has sold 300 vacant properties to developers, nonprofits and individuals for redevelopment or new construction, including redevelopment of the public housing complex Beecher Terrace into mixed-income housing and intense focus on redevelopment of the entire Russell neighborhood.
Louisville has experienced momentum since 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down. High-profile projects include the dozens of hotels under construction throughout the area, the $35 million Louisville Urban League Sports and Learning Complex at Heritage West, and the $200 million LouCity FC soccer stadium complex called Butchertown Stadium District, which will include office and retail space, restaurants and hotels across a 40-acre property.
“Both the Vision Russell and soccer stadium projects have and will attract additional private investment in those neighborhoods, which will bolster quality of life for residents, a key selling point for business retention and attraction,” O’Brien said. “Businesses want to be in cities where significant investments are being made and where their employees can experience a high quality of life.”
In January, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had good news for West Louisville when he announced restoration and redevelopment of a warehouse that has been vacant for three decades. The property on West Broadway was acquired by Housing Partnership Inc. (HPI) for a $34 million mixed-use development. Built in 1922, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Louisville Metro Government and OneWest, a nonprofit community development organization, are part of the public/private partnership on the project.
Scheduled for a July launch, Logan Street Market is a registered public benefit corporation (PBC) located in the Shelby Park community. With an eye toward sustainability, Louisville’s urban public market has a dual mission of providing fresh, local food to an underserved community and being an all-inclusive gathering space. A microbrewery is on site, along with restaurants, food and retail vendors, a stage and gallery.
In March, ground was broken in Jeffersonville for Gateway Commercial Development, a $30 million project at the corner of 10th and Spring Street. Starbucks and other retailers are expected in the first of two phases. Anticipated in late 2019 is construction of a new Xscape Theatre on Gottbrath Parkway near I-265 in Jeffersonville, thanks to the New Albany-based private investment firm Patoka Capital. The $15 million movie theater will have 12 screens, two of which will be 70 feet wide with 4K digital projection and an immersive sound system.
A market where homes move quickly
The Greater Louisville Association of Realtors (GLAR) represents more than 4,500 members involved in the residential and commercial real estate industries. While year-to-date sales were down 7.1% in March 2019 from the same time in 2018, the average price was up 4.8%.
“Our members are now seeing the typical early spring pick up in listings and showings,” GLAR CEO Lisa Stephenson said in April. “We continue to see move-in ready, moderately priced homes sell quickly. Homes that are priced slightly above market value will sit for longer periods.”
“There is great momentum on both the residential and commercial spectrum, and they are positively impacted by the growth of the city of Louisville,” said John Hollenbach, managing partner of Hollenbach-Oakley, adding that the suburban market “is seeing significant growth in the multifamily sector.”
A full-service development and project management firm, Hollenbach-Oakley is managing the design and infrastructure of the Butchertown Stadium District.
The company is also developing a 300-acre office campus, with Class A office facilities, at River Ridge Commerce Center on East Highway 62 in Jeffersonville, Ind., in which the second phase will be a 300-acre research campus. The developer’s Oldham Reserve on 1,000 acres in La Grange will include high-end office space along with retail and residential development.
Additionally, construction is on track for the company’s own new headquarters to start in the fourth quarter of 2019 at Blankenbaker Station Business Park. Hollenbach-Oakley will share the 45,000-s.f. building with its affiliate, brokerage firm Horizon Commercial Realty.