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National media love continues: NYTimes features NuLu apartment, Owensboro boom times


(Editor’s note: This post was updated at 11 a.m. on January 1. The original version had copy errors related to  technical difficulties.)

Insider Louisville contributor Steve Coomes sent me an email yesterday with this subject line: “What is the New York Times’ fascination with Louisville and Kentucky?”

In the email, Steve included links to two NYTimes stories, one featuring a NuLu apartment for sale and one about Owensboro, our Ohio River cousins to the west.

And he’s correct: Suddenly, the Gray Lady is focusing more and more attention and resources on Louisville, on Kentucky or on some Kentucky industry such as Mickey Meece’s big bourbon story in last Sunday’s Times.

Yesterday, the NYTimes’ Great Homes and Destination blog included the NuLu space in the regular real estate multi-media feature, “What You Get For $x,” which compares different homes for sale in various United States markets at a single price point.

Definitely one of our favorites features.

In this case, it was, “What you get for $379,000,” which is about as close as the NYTimes ever gets top an Everyman price range, unlike the $10 million New York pre-war apartments lining Central Park West.

Surprisingly, NuLu comes off as a smidge pricey compared to the sample cities Portland, Ore. and Milwaukee, Wisc. (Please, no more hate mail about Insider Louisville being the publicity arm of NuLu/Gill Holland.)

The Milwaukee house is a 2-story wood frame deal with four bedrooms, two and a half baths and 2,534 square feet for $377,500, or $149 per square foot.

In Portland, where prices for downtown apartments tend to be inflated beyond belief, the featured house is a contemporary design in the suburbs with three bedrooms and two and a half baths, 2,020 square feet at $186 per square foot.

The NuLu apartment is the most interesting space. But it’s the smallest and most expensive, with two bedrooms and two and a half baths in 1,840 square feet, or $206 per square foot.

That’s about 25 percent more than the Milwaukee place, and about 10 percent more than Portland!

Here’s the summary:

SETTING: This building is in a part of downtown Louisville variously referred to as the East Market District and NuLu, a portmanteau word for New Louisville. Over the past 10 years, developers and business owners have converted the neighborhood’s narrow 19th-century brick buildings into condos, galleries, boutiques and restaurants.

INSIDE: This unit is on the second and third floor of a three-story building with retail at street level. It was built in 1885 and has been used variously as a general store, a storage warehouse and an art gallery. It retains its original wood floors, exposed brick walls, living room staircase and wood ceiling beams. On the main level, there’s an open-plan living and dining area, a kitchen and a half-bathroom. The living room has three floor-to-ceiling windows with views of downtown Louisville. The kitchen was updated in 2006, when the building was converted to condos.

The other story, “A Kentucky City Reinvents a Faded Downtown,” by Keith Schneider, is about Owensboro on-going Renaissance.

The big story in Owensboro is its downtown, which is coming back after decades of neglect, according to the article. Owensboro has about $1 billion worth of projects going including a $48 million downtown convention center.

So, what does all this say about Louisville and Kentucky?

Without being in the editorial meetings when these stories were pitched, it’s kind of difficult to know. Do we have an advocated somewhere in the hallowed halls at Eight Avenue?

What I’d like to think is, we’re getting attention because we’re a city and state not just with style and moxy, but with great future possibilities.

When I was a kid, friends and family all left Louisville for Atlanta the day they graduated college. Then, in the 1990s, Charlotte became the New City of the South.

As we seque into 2012, it’s gratifying to read again all the publicity we got in 2011 – not just  from the New York Times, Wall Street Journals, Garden & Guns and Southern Livings, but from the global travel, foodie and music websites – and wonder, “Are we next?”





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