Saturday, March 22, 2008

2007 Census Estimates

The US Census Bureau recently released it's estimates for county populations on July 1,2007. Looks like the Louisville area continues it's steady, stable growth pattern.

Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area
Indiana Counties
Clark - 105,035 +1,466
Floyd - 73,064 +494
Washington - 27,920 -142
Harrison - 36,810 -182

Kentucky Counties
Jefferson – 709,264 +7,764
Bullitt – 73,931 +1,080
Oldham - 55,935 +650
Shelby – 40,458 +741
Henry – 15,711 -314
Meade – 27,270 -722
Nelson - 42,517 +415
Spencer - 16,475 +362
Trimble – 8,983 -88
TOTAL: 1,233,373 +11,162

Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area:
Hardin - 97,949 +862
Larue - 13,661 +49
TOTAL: 111,610 +911

Scottsburg Micropolitan Area
Scott - 23,679 -25

Louisville Combined Statistical Area: 1,368,662

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Recent Bad News

Well, it can't be sunshine and rainbows everyday, now can it? Louisville has had two major announcements in past two weeks, and neither of them have been good.

Medco, the New Jersey-based pharmacy company, has decided that it will not locate a major 1,300 position facility in Louisville; the facility will instead be located in a suburban collar county of Indianapolis. The Medco project would have brought hundreds of very high paying jobs to the area, and would have been a major coup for a city that is branding itself as the next big logistics hub in America.

In choosing to locate in Indianapolis, Medco decided to forgo 30,000,000 dollars in tax incentives offered by the state of Kentucky. Indiana offered substantially less money to Medco at 18,000,000 dollars. It looks like that the key reason Medco picked Indiana over Kentucky was pretty simple: they currently couldn't operate in Louisville under current pharmacy laws. Indiana quickly changed their regulations, while Kentucky put it off at several meetings, until it was too late for Medco. The damage was done, and 1,300 jobs went 100 miles north.

The other major disappointment of the week is the sale of locally headquartered Genlyte to Netherlands-based Royal Phillips Electronics. Genlyte is Louisville's fifth largest publicly held company, and with strong growth, it was poised to break into the Fortune 1000 list. The sale is a serious blow to the local business community.

The silver-lining to this cloud is that Phillips has at least agreed to headquarter this new division of the company in Louisville. Current Genlyte management has all agreed to stay with the newly formed division of Phillips. Phillips has been on a buying spree, of sorts, in the field of light production, having acquired a Massachusetts and Canadian based company in recent months.

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Housing on Main Street

Downtown continues to show strength as local developers have announced plans to renovate three buildings along West Main Street into housing and restaurants. The buildings, located at the corner of Main and Second, are adjacent to the proposed Iron Quarter retail and office development, as well as across the street from the planned Louisville Arena. Plans call for up to 32 condominium units as well as a locally owned Irish pub.

The structures feature cast iron facades and were constructed in the late 1800's. The facades will be refurbished and brought back to their original states. Bill Weyland, a local developer with tons of experience, has signed on as the principal architect and as a partner. He plans to have the buildings put onto the National Register of Historic Places so he can get federal tax credits for being involved in the project. Weyland has had several major projects in downtown Louisville where he used the federal tax credits to help finance his buildings.

The project will include an interior courtyard as well as maintain entrances on both Main Street and Washington Street in the rear. The buildings will each have a penthouse unit on the top floors, and will feature an industrial/modern look with exposed brick, hard woods, and stone.

After Todd Blue announced his plans for a major retail and office project in several of the buildings adjacent to this project, we knew it would only be a matter of time before the remaining few structures were snatched up for reuse.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hillard Lyons Work to Begin in November

A Florida developer with local roots has finally closed on a land deal that gives him control of the Hillard Lyons Center on Fourth Street in downtown. The Hillard Lyons Center, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will soon be seeing a 60 million dollar renovation that will turn the mostly vacant office building into a new Embassy Suites Hotel.

Plans currently call for floors two through six to be renovated into 300 rooms, while the seventh floor would become class A office space. The first floor and basement will see lots of new activity, too. On the first floor plans are calling for three new restaurants and a coffee shop. The restaurants will include a jazz club, a sports bar, as well as a possible nationally branded "upscale" steak or seafood concept. The lobby of the new hotel will retain many of the details from the buildings early years, while bringing in new amenities that today's traveler demand. The basement will include a fitness center with a pool and spa, as well as meeting space and another possible bar.

Earlier this year trouble had been brewing for this project as a current tenant was suing so it would not be forced to leave the building. The tenant is a web-hosting and service company that would have a very difficult time moving their equipment to a new location. However, the developer and the tenant have both said they are in negotiations and fully expect to reach an amicable resolution.

Much of the funding for the new hotel has already been secured through two New York financial-service firms and through the New Markets Tax Credit and several different historic preservation tax credits. The hotel should be up and running by December 2008.

In a second deal, the developer also is eyeballing an adjacent vacant property on Third Street to become a new parking garage and mixed use condo tower. Preliminary talks are being held with different city officials to come to an agreement on who would own and build the parking garage component. PARC has offered to build the structure with tax dollars collected from a TIF district that is being created for the new Cordish Center City proposal. The developer has alluded to the new condo tower being "much taller" than the seven floor Hillard Lyons Center.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Share Louisville

Share Louisville - Ohio

Louisville recently embarked on a new campaign to brand itself around the country - My favorite of the spots being the Ohio ad. (Sorry Ohio, I like you, but I just think it's kinda humorous)

The point of the ads, I think, is to just get people outside of the region to just think about Louisville as a viable alternative to the booming places in the South, or large Midwestern and Northeastern cities. People aren't going to start packing their bags for Louisville tonight, but it may stick out in their heads if they ever want a new place to live.

What do you think of them? See the rest here at

Monday, September 10, 2007

Major Work Now Begins at RiverPark Place

RiverPark Place, the sprawling new mixed-use development along the Ohio River, is now moving into the heavy construction phase. The developer, Poe Companies of Louisville, plans to have the first unit available for occupancy in Summer 2008. Phase 1 of RiverPark Place includes two 16-floor condo towers, a large marina, and other low-rise residential and commercial structures.

Preliminary work at the site, which included the placement of utilities and work done for the foundations, was completed in August. The financial workings of the project have also been finalized. National City Bank has agreed to fund the 75 million dollar loan for the project because the developers have more than 50 percent of the condos reserved by buyers.

The project features more than 150 condos with a wide price range of 129,000 to 1.5 million.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cordish Plans New “Center City”

Cordish has done it again. And wow.

The Baltimore-based developer of Fourth Street Live has announced plans for a new 250 million dollar mixed-use development in the heart of downtown. It will encompass the entire Water Company block, and include a renovated Louisville Gardens, and other assorted properties on six separate city blocks. In a word, this is HUGE.

The old Water Company will be the main focus of this development. At the site, Cordish has preliminary plans for buildings equaling over 500,000 square feet of space with a mix of uses. The block will be transformed into a retail hub/entertainment area/neighborhood. The project will consist mainly of building flush with the street with retail and dining options along the first level and residential or office space above it. There will also be a residential mid-rise of at least 15 stories. Officials have declined to mention exactly how many residential units will be included, but did say there would be at least “several hundred”.

In the new development, currently called Center City, Cordish plans to bring in small and medium sized national tenants, including restaurants, retail stores, and a large multiplex theatre. The company has not yet signed any tenants for the project, but they did say that national chains were responding favorably in negotiations. Cordish has hinted, however, that a major department store might not be a part of the final mix.

The other main component of this sweeping project is the renovation of the aging Louisville Gardens. The company plans to revive the space as an arena for a new minor league hockey team, and as a venue for smaller concerts and shows. The Gardens were built in early 20th century, and the building hasn’t been extensively renovated in years.

The price tag for the entire project is estimated at 250 million dollars, which will be completely fronted by Cordish. However, there is a catch. For the project to be built the city has been asked to approve a TIF district covering the area of the new developments and rebating up to 80 percent of future tax growth for 30 years to improve public infrastructure. The TIF dollars would be rebated back to Cordish for their work in rebuilding public amenities, such as streets, alleys, new lighting and streetscapes, and new parking decks. The rebate would be 130 million dollars over the life of the TIF.

The Metro Council will receive the official request for the TIF district on Thursday, and it is expected to breeze through the council. It will also have to be approved by state officials in Frankfort, which have historically rubberstamped municipal decisions in this type of situation. If the TIF district is passed without a hitch construction will begin in 2008.

Center City, if completed, will cost nearly 4 times that of nearby Fourth Street Live, and will dwarf it in scope. Cordish has long tried build on to their wildly successful project in Louisville, only for things to usually fall through. In 2005 they planned a phase two to Fourth Street Live in the former JCPenney building, only for other building owners to refuse selling their properties. Earlier this year Cordish reached a deal with the owners of the Starks Building to expand their center, but it will only add a few thousand feet of space.

The project is especially exciting for Louisville because it is the culmination of years of renewal in the core. The city has longed for a major retail destination that can serve the burgeoning urban population and provide conventioneers and other out-of-town guest a place to drop their money and spend their time. It has not been a secret that city officials have been pushing and kneading developers to build this sort of showcase project – and that they would not consider the downtown rebirth successful until this was done.

I think downtown Louisville may have finally arrived.

More in Store for Downtown - Sunday, August 19