Louisville Collegiate School looks to demolish apartments for parking space
A Louisville private school is seeking approval to destroy three occupied apartment buildings on its Cherokee Triangle campus to build a parking lot.
Representatives of the Louisville Collegiate School say the Yorktown Apartments, which it took over in 2015, are deteriorating. They aim to use about an acre of the property to add 56 parking spaces, which they say will ease road congestion.
But others worry how the decision will impact current tenants amid a shortage of affordable housing across the city.
A public hearing for the school’s plan is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon during the Cherokee Triangle Architectural Review Committee meeting. The government group will determine if the project violates the neighborhood’s historic preservation requirements and whether to grant a certificate that would allow the planned demolition to move forward.
A recent report by the city’s Planning and Design agency recommended the committee provide the certificate, saying taking down the apartments would not harm local preservation goals.
The school’s certificate application said that the three apartments, which have 48 total housing units, are “in a dire state of disrepair and unusable for habitation.”
Alltrade Property Management, a local organization, operates the apartments. An Alltrade employee on Tuesday said Trish Lee, the property manager for the buildings, was out sick and unavailable to comment.
Cullen Jones, the group’s vice president for business development, said in an email that two-thirds of all units were occupied as of Tuesday afternoon, and that the average cost of rent was $650.
Elizabeth Post, a public relations executive representing Collegiate, said the school’s student body and staff have grown over recent years. There were 647 enrolled students and 132 employees during the 2018-19 school year, she said, and those numbers have increased by about 20 and 17 percent, respectively.
While the school has a main parking lot accessible on Ray Avenue, Post said parked cars now crowd onto nearby streets. She added that traffic near the school has become a safety concern for residents.
“Due to the school's growth, it has really put a burden on the neighbors,” she said.
Collegiate has among the highest tuitions in the state, with high school costs topping $26,000 a year.
The project would provide more parking space through a lot connected to Grinstead Drive, a wider road with a center turning lane. Post said the lot would be prioritized for the school’s faculty and staff.
A slideshow presentation for the project also shows a possible one-way vehicle path connecting Glenmary Avenue, parallel to Grinstead, with the planned lot. It would use another school-owned property.
“It has been the practice of Louisville Collegiate School to acquire properties adjacent to its campus as they become available, simply because Collegiate is in a landlocked position,” Post said.
She said plans to demolish the Yorktown Apartments came after years of discussion among school leaders, architects and planners, and feedback from local residents.
But renters living in the buildings will have to find somewhere else to go.
Post said Alltrade notified tenants in early October about the need to relocate by January 31. Jones said the company has been working to help them do so.
George Brian Baker and Lisa Baker were residents of one of the apartments. They were recently served a 14-day notice to vacate, and on Monday afternoon were packing up their unit.
They said they had not received Section 8 support on time due to housing officials missing an inspection. WFPL News was not able to independently verify those claims.
Lisa Baker said many residents at Yorktown Apartments are low-income, and that they should’ve received guaranteed housing or more time to find a new place to live.
“I agree that it is worn down and everything, and it does need to be taken care of. But the thing is, is that throwing people out on the street is not the way,” she said.
Lisa said she and George Brian, who is disabled, will not have a place to live if evicted.
The Coalition for the Homeless, a local advocacy group, said in a statement that Louisville Collegiate School’s plan would contribute to the city’s housing and homelessness crises and urged the school and the architectural review committee to dismiss it.
The availability of low-income housing in Louisville has been a concern for years. A 2019 report commissioned by the city found that more than 30,000 homes needed to be built to support households at the lowest income levels.
Correction: A previous version of this story inaccurately referenced the Louisville Urban League as being involved with helping to relocate residents.