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Councilman Calls For Affordable Housing At Phoenix Hill, Mercy Academy Sites

Louisville City Hall
J. Tyler Franklin
Louisville City Hall

The leader of the Louisville Metro Council's majority caucus says he won't support providing millions in incentives for a high profile residential development if the developer doesn't include affordable housing.

Councilman Bill Hollander, a Democrat from District 9, said he won't back a proposal to approve tax increment financing districts for residential developments at the former sites of Phoenix Hill Tavern and Mercy Academy unless the developer commits to developing a portion of the near 450 units planned for the two sites as affordable.

Hollander is suggesting about 10 percent of the planned units be priced so families earning 80 percent of the area median income can afford monthly rent.

At 80 percent area median income, a family of four would bring in just more than $53,000 annually, Hollander said.

"We're talking about making a very small piece of (the project) workforce housing," he said.

The proposed tax increment financing district agreements between Louisville Metro government and Ohio-based Louisville Baxter Apartments, LLC detail up to nearly $8 million in city tax funds would return to the developer to help subsidize the cost of development.

A council committee will begin discussing the proposed agreement at a meeting Tuesday evening. It would need full council approval.

The two separate projects at the former Phoenix Hill Tavern site and Mercy Academy site near the intersection of East Broadway and Baxter Avenue drew attentionearlier this year after the developer sought more than $10 million in incentives, including nearly $4 million from Jefferson County Public Schools, to help fund the projects that, together, are projected to cost about $76 million.

A representative for the developing company could not be reached for comment.

A representative from Louisville Metro government's economic development arm, Develop Louisville, declined to comment on the proposed tax increment financing district agreement.

Councilman David Tandy's district includes the Phoenix Hill and Mercy Academy development sites. He did not return a request for comment.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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