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Louisville Lofts and Condos » Entertainment
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Archive for the 'Entertainment' 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.

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….

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.

Louisville Center City District

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

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)
  • Restaurants
  • 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.

4th Street Live! Expansion

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

One of the biggest complaints (for years) has been that downtown Louisville is dead after work. Obviously, this has a negative impact on the whole region: if the center is dead, the rest of the city is soon enough down the same path.

A couple of years ago, as part of the continued revitalization work for the downtown area, 4th Street Live! opened in the old galleria space (a downtown mall that had lingered well past its prime). I can’t really say that I’m a huge fan of 4th Street Live! (a bit too sterile and mass market friendly), but it has done its job and acted as a magnetic for the downtown area, both day and night.

As evidence of its success, The Cordish Company (owners of 4th Street Live!) have now announced a major $6 million expansion of the original project into the adjacent Starks building (20,500 sq ft on the first floor). The Courier-Journal also reported this may be a prelude to an even greater expansion (destination retail) on the old water company block.

All of this is good for condos and lofts, as more attractions stimulate even more demand for living space where there’s energy and vitality. Bill Weyland and his City Properties development group are in the process of completing the renovation/restoration of the YWCA building, just a block south of 4th Street Live!, a multi-use project with commercial space, apartments and condos. As this area continues its renewal, I expect to see many more condo and loft projects underway.