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Louisville Lofts and Condos
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Louisville Metro Real Estate counters US Trends

Posted October 18th, 2007 by
Categories: Louisville

 The real estate statistics for September were released for Louisville, KY showing a 5% increase in the median price over last year.  This price increase runs counter to the overall US trend toward lower prices.

However, not all of the news was good.  The average time on the market for a home increased by 3 1/2 months over the same time last year.   In addition, the number of sales in September were down about 13% from last year.

Thus, the Louisville metro area, although outperforming on price, is still a sluggish market for real estate.  In comparison with surrounding areas, such as Lexington, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, and even the nation as a whole, where median prices are lower, however, the Louisville area is performing quite well.

Possible Condos next to Hilliard Lyons Center

Posted October 15th, 2007 by
Categories: Condo, Downtown, Louisville

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

Posted September 27th, 2007 by
Categories: Downtown, Entertainment

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

Posted September 20th, 2007 by
Categories: Condo, Downtown, Loft, Louisville

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.

Downtown Louisville Housing Tour

Posted September 7th, 2007 by
Categories: Condo, Downtown, Loft, Louisville

This weekend, on Saturday, September 8th, 2007, between 10 am and 3 pm, free tours of downtown housing will be offered, featuring 22 different projects, including lofts, condos and apartments.

Downtown trolleys, offered by TARC, will circulate along two different routes, to allow easy transportation between the featured projects, part of $2 billion in downtown investment that is currently planned or already under construction in the downtown Louisville area.

Louisville Downtown Management District is sponsoring the Housing tour. It begins at 4th Street Live in the Brown & Williamson tower lobby, where booths will feature downtown projects and include maps of the project locations on the tour.

Arctic Ice House Condos

Posted September 7th, 2007 by
Categories: Condo, Downtown, Loft, Louisville

The former Artic Ice House on East Main Street has been purchased for redevelopment into 52 condominiums. The site at 217 E Main St is within a short walking distance of Slugger Field, Waterfront Park and several East Main restaurants and galleries.

The conversion will take place in phases, with the first phase (32 1-Bedroom condos) featuring the renovation of the 7-story structure, at an approximate cost of $3 million. The second phase (14 1-Bedroom and 6 2-Bedroom condos) will convert the one and two-story structures on site into condominiums and should be complete about one to two years after the first phase. The full basement with access to Washington Street will become the common lobby, fitness and entertainment area.

The redevelopment of the Ice House is being spearheaded by Dave Steinbrecher, owner of Derek Engineering, a general contracting company, and David Barhorst, head of SoFo Development and developer of Byck’s Lofts on Fourth Street.

One bedrooms are expected to cost between $189,000 to $215,000 with two bedrooms at approximately $299,000. There will be onsite parking available.

Financing is in place ($7 million from PRP Bank) and construction is expected to begin by year’s end.

Liberty Green Developers Chosen

Posted September 7th, 2007 by
Categories: Condo, Downtown, Louisville

The city announced the development partners to build the next phase of the Liberty Green project, a redevelopment of the former Clarksdale Public Housing site into a mixed income residential area.

The Louisville Housing Authority has chosen Bill Weyland’s City Properties Group (developer of The Henry Clay and The Louisville Glassworks Lofts) and Holly Wiedemann’s AU Associates (developer of Artek Lofts in Lexington) to develop up to 380 units for sale over the next decade. Currently, about 120 rental units have been developed, with over 100 already occupied.

The first project, 18 condo units along Hancock Street between Jefferson Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, may be completed by Fall 2008, pending financing. The three-story rowhouses will be priced from $120,000 to around $300,000, according to Weyland.

Louisville Center City District

Posted August 19th, 2007 by
Categories: Downtown, Entertainment, Louisville

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.

Tour of Remodeled Homes 2007

Posted August 15th, 2007 by
Categories: Downtown

This weekend (August 18-19), the Home Builders Association of Louisville are sponsoring the 2007 Tour of Remodeled Homes. The fee ($10/adults, $2/children) will allow access to all 13 homes featured on the tour on both Saturday & Sunday between 12 noon and 6 pm each day.

Many home shows don’t interest me, but one home on the tour this year should be particularly interesting:

  • 707 East Market Street: a live/work home with the first floor as a commercial photography studio and the second/third floors as the family residence. The home, formerly a warehouse, features original heart pine floors, exposed brick, exposed ceiling joists and six (6!) original cast iron fireplaces.

Perhaps I’ll see you there.

More information can be found at the Home Builders Association of Louisville.

Demolition of Phillip Morris Factory

Posted August 13th, 2007 by
Categories: Louisville, West End Louisville

The 23-acre former home of Phillip Morris in Louisville, KY is being demolished by to make way for the mixed-use NewBridge Crossing. The new development will offer a variety of uses–residential, entertainment, shopping and office.

Personally, I would have preferred that at least some of the site could have been adaptively repurposed. I just hope that it doesn’t become another glorified lifestyle center (just a new name for a strip mall). The demolition was expected to cost about $2 million, but that should amount was reduced due to the large amount of recyclable materials on site that should be salvageable by the demolition company.

I look forward to seeing how the redevelopment progresses over the next few years. I’m sure that Brown-Forman (just down the street) gladly anticipate the redevelopment too.