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Molina Healthcare Pursues Passport's West End Site Along With State Contract

California-based Molina Healthcare is hoping to win a Medicaid contract from Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration. As Molina prepares its bid, the company is indicating a desire to take over a major project its competitor, the nonprofit Passport Health Plan, put on hold nearly a year ago.

Last month, Beshear canceled the Medicaid contracts his predecessor Matt Bevin awarded in his final days in office. Bevin offered Molina an entry to Kentucky and denied Passport a renewal. Now, both companies are trying again.

Molina is publicly expressing interest in the abandoned headquarters project at 18th and Broadway that Passport put on "indefinite hiatus" last February. A source familiar with the situation said Molina is not interested in developing the property, but is willing to commit to a medium-term lease for more than 1,100 employees and further financial support for the project.

The west Louisville site currently sits quiet. Passport was able to erect a few steel frames before halting construction amid financial troubles.

A spokesman for Passport, Ben Adkins, responded to Molina’s proposal Thursday, saying the company has already invested $40 million into the site, which it owns, and plans to complete development of the mixed-use complex.

"We look forward to moving our headquarters and being the only health plan on the site, even closer to the community and the people we’ve called neighbors for the past 22 years," Adkins said in an emailed statement.

The Beshear administration plans to open the new request for proposals early this month, with the goal of scoring bids and awarding contracts by April. The state's active Medicaid contracts will expire at the end of June.

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.

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