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Louisville Metro Council committee advances tax incentive proposal for One Park project

Short businesses and parking lot
Jacob Munoz
/
LPM
The One Park project would overhaul a triangular lot south of Lexington Road that's currently the site of some businesses.

A group of Louisville Metro Council members on Tuesday advanced a tax increment financing measure for the long-planned One Park project. Its developer says he needs the subsidy, potentially worth $114 million, to complete the venture, but some residents are critical of the idea.

Plans for One Park were proposed in 2014, and zoning changes for its southern and northern halves were approved in 2019 and earlier this year. Kevin Cogan, a prominent local developer, is the manager of the group leading the project, JDG Triangle Partners, LLC.

The high-rise development would transform an area near Cherokee Park, between Lexington Road and Grinstead Drive in the Irish Hill neighborhood. Among its plans, it would create up to 700 apartments, provide nearly 240,000 square feet of office space and add a grocery store and a hotel.

Now the developer is seeking city help to offset its costs, estimated at $554 million. The proposed TIF would allow it to recoup up to $114 million from property and income taxes generated by the project for up to 30 years.

Cogan and city economic development officials spoke in favor of the TIF at Tuesday’s Labor and Economic Development Committee meeting. Members voted 6-2 on the ordinance, which could receive a full Metro Council vote as soon as next week.

Jim Parsons, an attorney for the developer who helped create the TIF proposal, said the mixed-use project would have a significant economic effect on the city.

“[The] site could possibly be redeveloped for a much, much less significant project that would not have nearly the impact, and maybe not need incentives,” Parsons said.

Parsons said the developer would apply for state incentives if the local TIF is approved.

The One Park project has for years drawn ire from locals who oppose the scale of the development. During a public hearing Monday night, residents criticized the request for a tax incentive to redevelop the area.

Metro Council Member Andrew Owen is a Democrat who represents District 9, where the project site is located. He told LPM News he plans to vote against the TIF, saying he supports the project but doesn’t agree with the public subsidy.

He’s also frustrated that the city and developer negotiated down an affordable housing requirement from an original promise of 10% of total rental units to 7%, and said he wishes he had been consulted.

“I was not involved in this conversation at all,” Owen said.

In Tuesday’s meeting, Louisville’s deputy mayor for economic development Pat Mulloy apologized to Owen and said he wasn’t intentionally excluded.

Both the city and the developer have said the drop in the affordable housing commitment is in part due to increased building costs. Parsons did not respond to a request for comment on the question of whether anyone did a recent cost analysis on the original 10% promise.

Bill Hollander, the District 9 representative who retired from Metro Council last year, has also criticized the current proposal.

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