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Louisville Metro Council greenlights zoning for multimillion-dollar One Park North project

A white vacant house and bare ground in front of a leaf-less tree and light, cloudy sky.
Jacob Munoz
JDG wants to develop parcels of land north of Lexington Road, some of which it already owns, for its large One Park North project.

JDG has previously worked on local projects such as the Park Grande luxury building near Cherokee Park and the Hurstbourne Office Park, according to the developer’s website.

Louisville officials have cleared a path for a major private development nearly a decade in the works.

Metro Council members voted unanimously Thursday to approve new zoning regulations for four properties in the Irish Hill neighborhood nestled between Interstate 64 and Cherokee Park. Two are owned by Jefferson Development Group (JDG), which aims to use the space to build the proposed One Park North project.

It’s one half of the ambitious One Park development, planned since 2014 at Lexington Road and Grinstead Drive. It would add buildings as high as 18 stories tall. The northern site would feature amenities like residential and office space and a grocery, according to a November booklet. The southern half is expected to include residential space and a hotel.

In December, the city’s Planning Commission recommended that Metro Council approve a zoning change to convert the four northern properties into a Planned Development District. Louisville zoning law states that the districts allow “flexible” development standards to “promote efficient and economic uses of land.”

The commission’s recommendation included a requirement that 5% of One Park North’s condos and apartments be affordable housing units.

New District 9 Council Member Andrew Owen, a Democrat who represents most of Irish Hill, said One Park could be a boon to the area.

“How exciting is that, that we could have that kind of a destination in Irish Hill … to look forward to going to, and having people come to from other places within the city,” Owen said.

One Park’s southern half would be built on a triangular lot currently home to several businesses, including Le Moo steakhouse and Highland Motors car dealership. JDG owns all the land for One Park South, according to the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administration. The lot was rezoned in late 2019.

The group is also under contract to purchase the remaining two properties for One Park North that are currently owned by the Metropolitan Sewer District, according to Sheryl Lauder, the city agency’s communications manager. The land for the northern project is mostly empty, except for an office building and a vacant house.

021522_One Park South lot_by Jacob Munoz
Jacob Munoz
The One Park project looks to upheave a triangular lot south of Lexington Road currently being used by businesses.

Though officials approved both of the developers’ rezoning requests, the project’s funding is still up in the air.

In October, WDRB News reported JDG was seeking $244 million in city and state tax increment financing over a 30-year period. One Park South was estimated to cost $250 million in 2019.

Neither JDG nor its owner, Kevin Cogan, provided comment for this story.

The One Park project has generated controversy over the years, due to concerns about its scale — its high-rise towers would far exceed nearby structures — and concerns over a possible increase in traffic.

Steve Porter is a local attorney who represented the Lexington Road Preservation Association during deliberation over One Park North. He said he’s worked with several other groups opposed to One Park over the years.

“They were fine with developing the property. They just thought it was too tall, too dense, and therefore, too many cars,” Porter said.

Council Member Owen, who took office last month, said he’s been aware of the One Park plan for years and has heard both opposition and support from residents. But he said many of his current constituents have told him they support affordable housing.

“You cannot be pro-environment and pro-affordable housing and still be entirely anti-density,” he said.

JDG has previously worked on local projects such as the Park Grande luxury building near Cherokee Park and the Hurstbourne Office Park, according to the developer’s website.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.