Monday, April 23, 2007

River City News Briefs

Museum Plaza Sets Date for Groundbreaking
The lead developers of Museum Plaza announced last week the date for the beginning of official construction - Thursday, September 27, 2007. The announcement finally puts to bed the speculation around that aspect of the process, as people thought construction could start as early June or as late as December. During the construction there will be more than 500 worker at the site daily for nearly 3 years. Retail shops will line the historic buildings fronting Main Street, and the connector between Main Street and the tower. Developers at Museum Plaza promise several major announcements through the summer regarding residential sales, office space, and retail shops.

HOK Sport Unveils Louisville Arena Interior
Kansas City-based HOK Sport revealed their plans for the interior of the new downtown Louisville arena. Plans call for 22,000 total seats, split equally between an upper and lower bowl. Other plans include a sports bar that will be open to the public year-round, a large lobby with a UofL store, Hall of Fame, and ticketcounter. A public food court will also operate year-round. All seats in the arena will be cushioned and backed. Construction begins in Summer 2008, after the Humana Riverside Building is demolished later this year and the LG&E transformer station is moved and hidden.

Jeffersonville Contemplates "Retail Incubator" for Downtown
Jeffersonville, Indiana officials are looking into creating a retail incubator for local and independent retailers on that city's Main Street. The plan is being studied by a Washington, DC firm and the report is expected to be available in May. In the most basic sense, it would be a stretch of buildings where the city would offer new local retailers reduced rents and other services, until their businesses could succeed without their help - hopefully no more than 3 years. Downtown Jeffersonville, which is experiencing a small renaissance, has several celebrated local establishment such as Schimpffs Confectionery and Horner Novelty; but city officials want to increase the offerings for new downtown residents.

Louisville's 21C Hotel Concept to be Expanded in the Southeast
Louisville's posh 21C Art+Hotel concept will soon find itself in other cities. According to the local developers (who also work on Museum Plaza) they are moving ahead with plans to build a similar hotel under the same name in a yet to be announced Southern US city. (Austin, Raleigh are rumored locales) The developers will also take the hotel's restaurant, Proof on Main, and recreate it's ambiance and menu in their new hotel.

Humana Completes Major Expansion of Headquarters
It's hard to imagine that only 2 years ago much of the 500 block of West Main Street in downtown was derelict. However, thanks to Humana, 516-526 W. Main have been given a new lease on life. The health care giant is wrapping up it's 20 million dollar renovation of the formerly abandoned properties into new space for it's employees. Renovations included a health club, several food options, and increased meeting space on the upper floors, while the first floor on all the buildings remained retail outlets.


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