Posted in: Downtown, Louisville attractions, Louisville Neighborhoods, Louisville Real Estate, Real Estate News, What to do in Louisville, Author: Younger Group (December 29, 2010)
As 2011 dawns in Louisville, the city is preparing for the inauguration of a new mayor, Greg Fischer. The Center for Neighborhoods is even handing out free tickets this week to people involved in neighborhood groups, homeowners associations, nonprofit civic groups and small cities to the One City Inaugural Celebration Breakfast next Monday. Fischer, who won the recent election with 51% of the votes promises to create jobs, develop neighborhoods, and expand the economy – welcome words to Louisville residents. These are the type of programs that can spur the housing market too.
Fischer has a special commitment to downtown development and promises incentives to streamline the permitting process, provide property tax abatement for private developers of affordable housing, provide rehabilitation tax credits for historic structures, and return vacant and abandoned properties to regular use. He foresees a downtown connected to neighborhoods. As he noted in his campaign platform, “It is important for Louisville to have a strong downtown because downtown is where we come together as a community. It is where people from PRP, Prospect, Russell, and Fern Creek sit side by side for a show or a game. It is where our visitors stay and do business. Downtown belongs to all of us.”
Time will tell if this is just another politician talking, but developments in downtown and surrounding areas have already turned downtown into a more vigorous business district, an afterhours playground, and an exciting housing alternative. The scene has been set for the future:
Housing units in downtown are expected to exceed 4,000 by the end of 2010 due to new construction and renovation of old buildings. Current projects in varying states of development include Museum Plaza, Gallery Square, Mercantile Gallery Lofts, the Hub at 300-320, and the Fleur de Lis Condos will offer housing and retail. Supplementary services, such as the newly owned CitySpaces storage facility in nearby Butchertown, make moving to potentially smaller quarters in the central city very convenient.
Yum! Center, as well as the new Muhammad Ali Center, the Louisville Slugger Museum, and Waterfront Park offers sports and entertainment especially convenient to city dwellers. A short distance away, Fourth Street Live offers restaurants and additional entertainment options.
Preservationists and entrepreneurs are talking about how to use old buildings as the basis of new development. A previous redevelopment plans known as the Iron Quarter Project would have demolished seven warehouses built between 1852 and 1905 to make way for 110,000 square feet of offices and 120,000 square feet of retail; curtained by the economy and preservationists, the project now proposes incorporating old building facades into the design.
Other projects, such as City Center, are set to redevelop large sections of downtown, if tax abatements and financing are obtained.
While there are many projects on the drawing board, which fall to the Metro Council to approve and the public to debate, the new mayor will be cheerleader for further downtown Louisville development. Given his entrepreneurial background, he is expected to be an innovator who will have interesting challenges ahead as he shapes downtown Louisville.