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Louisville Lofts and Condos » Downtown
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Archive for the 'Downtown' Category

Louisville City Center Project Plans Grow

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

The Louisville City Center Project, a development of the Cordish Group, owner of 4th Street Live!, has grown in size and cost as the plans have become more concrete.  The latest estimates now expect the entire project to top $442 million, as more features have been added.

According to officials, this increase in the project scope will not result in more support from the city.   The original plan called for a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district along Muhammed Ali Blvd between Second and Sixth Streets.   The TIF district will allow the expected $130 million in newly generated taxes be used for public improvements, such as sidewalks, utilities, and parking.

Major features of the project include the development of the “Water Company” block featuring a movie theater, hotel, offices, retail, and restaurants.  The block is also expected to include a 20+ story tower primarily for condominiums.  At the other end of the City Center development area, the Cordish company will renovate the aging Louisville Gardens (expected to cost about $20 million) in anticipation of a minor league hockey team.

All of the land in the development area is under contract or already owned by either the city or Cordish company.  Therefore, construction could begin as early as next year (2008), to be developed in phases as market demand deems necessary.   Before any construction begins agreements for the TIF district must be approved by Frankfort and the City Council.

Museum Plaza Bond Issue Approved

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Museum Plaza, the $490 million downtown mixed-use mega-project with a hotel, condos, lofts and office space among restaurants and  art exhibition areas, last week received unanimous approval from the Louisville metro council committee for a $130 million bond issue to pay for public improvements.   This is a key step in the process to ensure that project receives all of the financing necessary for its completion.

The bond issue that was approved will be paid through the new TIF (Tax Increment Finance) district created for Museum Plaza and will not require any Louisville Metro funding, nor will it be on the Louisville city government’s balance sheet.

The developers of Museum Plaza, however, have requested an additional $45 million bond issue from the city’s coffers to cover the extensive costs of the public improvements on site, including a new floodwall and a landscaped public plaza.   The costs of the 62-story skyscraper will be privately funded.

8664 has public forum

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

The results of the 8664 study with retired traffic engineer, Walter Kulash, were presented to an eager audience of over 200 of the public at Kentucky Center for the Arts.   

According to Mr. Kulash, the removal of I-64 through downtown would greatly simplify the current mess known as Spaghetti Junction where three interstates intersect.   This simplification would then allow the free flow of traffic through the interstate interchange making the need for a second downtown bridge next to the Kennedy bridge superfluous.  The plan would still require an East End Bridge and the re-routing of I-64 over that bridge, removing the through traffic that now flows through downtown Louisville. The removal of I-64 through downtown and replacement with a parkway would open a large swath of downtown and the west end for development, reconnecting Louisville with its rightful parent–the Ohio River.   

Finally, in addition to the livability and community benefits, the 8664 plan would also present a much more cost-effective plan, approximately half of the cost the current Bridges Project. Overall, the 8664 project is much more friendly to the downtown area and can only reinforce the booming downtown area, extending it west of the current 9th Street exit of I-64, which forms a wall between the central business district (CBD) and the west end.   Moreover, the $2 billion lower price tag would obviously free up money to be used on other greatly needed transportation projects throughout the Louisville metro area.

O’Malley’s Corner is now City Block

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

The longtime nightclub known as O’Malley’s Corner is being rebranded as City Block along with a $5 million investment.   The owners will be rebranding two of the six nightclubs on site.   One of the new clubs will include a small theater. Although the nightclubs suffered immediately following the opening of 4th Street Live!, now the business at the nightclubs is “better than ever” according to the owners.   The rebranding and investment is in anticipation of the new stadium planned at Second and Main to open in 2010, only two blocks from the nightclubs. 

Museum Plaza needs $45 million jump start

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Last week, a surprised metro council discovered that $45 million in bonds issued by the city of Louisville would be required for the privately financed Museum Plaza project.

According to reports, the $45 million bond issue would cover part of the $139 million in public improvements, such as floodwalls, lighting and a public plaza.    This is in addition to the earlier announced $130 million bond issue for the project to be supported by the TIF (tax increment financing) district created to support the project.

The reason for the additional bond issue is that not all of the $130 million will be available for improvements, since the bonds and expenses associated with the bonds will need to be paid in the intervening years before the TIF begins to generate revenue, expected to occur upon completion of the project in 2010.  Therefore, only about $75 million of the $130 million will be available for the public improvements at Museum Plaza.  The $130 million bond issue will only be covered by tax revenue from the TIF and the city’s credit rating will not be impacted nor will the city be liable for the debt.

The $45 million bond issue, to be paid by the city, along with $25 million from the developers will cover the remaining costs for public improvements.

Several members of the council and community at large were surprised, not by the cost, but by the timing and seemingly secretive way in which this extra money was secured.   Until this report, most of the community believed the only support the Museum Plaza project would receive was to be generated by the TIF.  Moreover, the need for an additional bond issue was only floated after the ground-breaking ceremony.

Stay tuned for more….

Museum Plaza Groundbreaking

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Museum Plaza, the 62-story Louisville mega-project with condos, lofts, hotel and offices, will have its groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday of this week.

The developers plan a barbecue and commemorative hard hats for the first 500 attendees. They will be able to enjoy the views from the “top” of the skyscraper as a helicopter beams images onto large screens on the ground. At 4:00 pm the new sales design center will open, featuring views from the 25th floor and a partial kitchen and bath built to scale.

The U of L pep band will play and a 20-foot tall shovel will mark the ground-breaking at 5:40 pm. The celebration will close Seventh Street and River Road.

In other news, the state tax increment financing commission approved the Museum Plaza plan to allow new taxes associated with the project pay for the estimated $135 million in public improvements in around the building. That was the last major hurdle the project had to face before construction could begin.

Preston Pointe architects receive award

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

The Preston Pointe office and condominium building in Louisville, by Potter & Associates Architects received a Citation for Excellence from the Kentucky Society of Architects.   The architects met in Columbus, Ind., at their annual convention where the the award was presented.

Possible Condos next to Hilliard Lyons Center

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Eric Bachelor, a developer from Florida (and native of Eminence, KY), recently purchased the Hilliard Lyons Center for just over $10 million.   He plans to develop the building into an Embassy Suites hotel with three restaurants: a steakhouse, jazz bar, and sports bar.

Bachelor has recently floated the idea of building on a parcel adjacent to the Hilliard Lyons Center at Third St and Muhammad Ali, currently a surface parking lot less than a block from Fourth Street Live! in downtown Louisville.  The plans have not yet fully taken shape, but the current proposals that are being studied by Bachelor and the city of Louisville include retail at street level, a parking structure base, and condominiums on the upper floors, with the parking structure to be managed by PARC (Parking Authority of the River City) and the investment in the condos and retail to be financed and managed by Bachelor.   The total project would be “much taller” than the seven story Hilliard Lyons Center.

The timeline under discussion proposes the condo tower and parking structure be completed to coincide with the first phase of the City Center Project, a Cordish development spanning several downtown blocks that first came to light in August.   The parking, condos, and retail would complement the $250 million Cordish project and continue the strong development momentum in downtown Louisville.

The renovation of the Hilliard Lyons Center is scheduled to begin this November, with the renovation cost of the complete gutting of the interior and refurbishment of the exterior projected to be between $50-$60 million to turn the former office building into 300+ suites.

Kentucky Theater Renovation

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

The historic Kentucky Theater at Theater Square on Fourth Street is undergoing renovation.

George Stinson, who has co-owned the building with Ed Lewis for 15 years, has announced plans to turn the 12,000 square feet space into a market place, with six tenants (and all available space) already signed.   Three of the tenants should move in by Thanksgiving with the remaining tenants, including a gourmet grocery and deli, ready near the beginning of 2008.  The building has had many uses since it stopped showing films in the 1970’s.  Recently, it has been used by the Kentucky Theater Project.

Stinson and Lewis began work on the $1.5 million renovation project several months ago and the renovation is now about 50% complete.  The first phase should be complete by Thanksgiving and the entire project complete by early 2008.   With the continued revitalization of the Fourth Street area, as projects such as the Henry Clay are completed and the announced Louisville Center City District, they expect the new market place to meet success where others have failed.

This project will fill a key hole in the Fourth Street area and should continue the positive momentum in downtown Louisville development.

Museum Plaza Groundbreaking Set

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

A new date (October 25, 2007) has been set for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Museum Plaza project in the West Main district of downtown Louisville, KY.

The groundbreaking had been originally planned for Sept 27, 2007.   The developers are still working with the state to ensure that all approvals are received before construction can begin.   Some site preparation has already taken place to shore up the entryway to the project–a series of facades on West Main.

The total project cost is now expected to reach $490 million, an increase of about 5% over the previous estimate of $465 million.  Thus far, the developers have already spent $18 million on the project of their own money.

A sales center at 707 W Main St is expected to open in October, with a life-size artist’s conception of the views from the 25th floor, where the contemporary arts center is planned.  More than 370 people have already inquired about purchasing a residence within the building.   Tours for these interested persons are planned to occur before the public opening of the new sales center.