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Louisville Metro seeks developers to transform ‘underutilized’ downtown properties

A vacant lot between buildings on Main Street is one of several properties the city wants to see redeveloped.
Jacob Munoz
/
LPM
A vacant lot between buildings on Main Street is one of several properties the city wants to see redeveloped.

City leaders want developers to renew three sites to attract people to live, work and visit the Central Business District.

Louisville Metro is offering up properties such as parking lots and unused buildings. The parcels include vacant space on Main Street and the former Louisville Metro Police Department headquarters on Jefferson Street.

The city has combined the properties into three opportunity sites, and is requesting that interested developers apply for each of them separately on its procurement portal until June 23.

Mayor Craig Greenberg said the redevelopment sites tie into a strategic goal to strengthen the Central Business District.

“They have been underutilized for years, for decades. And so this is a great opportunity right now to partner with other groups, to put these back into action [and] to help them be a part of the downtown revitalization,” Greenberg said.

In documents outlining application requirements, the city said the properties “are no longer desirable or helpful toward realizing the potential of Downtown.” It said that while tourism is rebounding, there are fewer office workers in the Central Business District since remote work expanded during the pandemic.

Market-rate and affordable housing, commercial space, grocery stores and mixed-use projects are some of the ideas the city is floating for the sites.

Jeff O’Brien, the director of Develop Louisville, led a public meeting Wednesday for interested developers. During the discussion, he said the city wants to see mixed-use projects on all three sites and more residents living downtown.

“We are interested in all types of housing. The goal here is to generate more activity in our downtown,” O’Brien said.

Louisville Metro is looking for a developer to utilize the property holding the former LMPD headquarters on Jefferson Street, which has been planned for demolition since last year.
Jacob Munoz
/
LPM
Louisville Metro is looking for a developer to utilize the property holding the former LMPD headquarters on Jefferson Street, which has been planned for demolition since last year.

For the initial phase of the process, the city isn’t looking for detailed project plans, but wants to see developers’ qualifications and approaches to projects, he said.

The proposals will be reviewed by a committee composed of members of groups like Develop Louisville, the city’s land development agency, the Office of Management and Budget and the nonprofit Louisville Downtown Partnership.

After choosing and verifying contractors, city officials plan to negotiate development agreements within six months.

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