Last month, I mentioned the expansion of 4th Street Live! into the adjacent Starks Building by Cordish Company. In that post, I also mentioned the hints from City Hall about the possibility of a major new investment in retail in the downtown area. The plans for that expansion are now being made public.
The new project, entitled Center City District, will cover 23 acres along six blocks of Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The Center City District will entail a $250 million investment in housing, restaurants, a boutique hotel and movie theater by Cordish Co. One of the keys to the project is the vision of the Center City District as a neighborhood and not just a project. It builds on much of the planning and development work that started about 20 years ago to revitalize the downtown area.
Key Aspects of the Center City District
- The Gardens will be renovated (possibly for a minor league hockey team)
- Housing (hundreds of units, probably Condos and Lofts–but no specifics yet)
- 1,000 new parking spaces
- Movie Theater (likely AMC, based upon other Cordish projects)
- At least one structure with 15+ stories
- Timing: To be completed by 2010
Financing of Center City District
Obviously, one of the primary drivers for this project will be the financing. A TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district will be created for these 23 acres and up to 80% of the additional tax revenue generated by the development (keep in mind–these tax dollars wouldn’t exist without the development) will be rebated back to the development owners for street and other improvements. Over the course of 30 years (the life of the TIF), the rebates are anticipated to be about $130 million. The upfront investment of $250 million will be solely the responsibility of Cordish Co., without city bonds–meaning the City of Louisville will not take on financial risk if the development does not meet financial expectations.