(Editor’s note: Insider Louisville’s Global Headquarters is in NuLu.)
If there’s one thing about the people working, living, investing and socializing in NuLu, it’s they remember who brung ’em to the dance.
Mayor of Gillville Gill Holland hosted an Appreciation Cocktail Party at The Garage Bar at 700 E. Market yesterday afternoon to thank the Jefferson County legislative delegation for securing funding for the Nucleus-to-NuLu Connector Streetscape Project.
The $13 million project – still in development and scheduled to start next year – will link the new Nucleus building at Market and Floyd streets east to the Home of the Innocents complex at Market and Baxter Avenue, and is expected to spur already intense investment in the area.
This was not just another NuLu party. The 100-person guest list included long-time State Rep. Tom Riner, who spearheaded the funding effort in the General Assembly in Frankfort, along with Rep. Darryl Owens, chairman of the Jefferson County delegation, Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, Metro Council President Jim King and Metro Mayor Greg Fischer.
Holland, Owens and Fischer all touched on a central theme: When government makes a small investment, a larger private investment follows.
Starting in 2007, entertainment investor/developer Holland and his wife Augusta Brown Holland began investing in the East Market Street corridor, including the multi-million dollar The Green Building at 732 E. Market St., Louisville’s first Platinum LEEDs-certified building.
In 2008, several partnerships, including Los Angeles-based actor and Louisville native William Mapother, contractor Tim Peters and the Hollands, purchased the Wayside Christian Mission properties — 10 buildings total from 800 E. Market St. through 820 E. Market St.
Since 2008, an estimated $100 million has been invested in the NuLu area, including the $20 million Nucleus building, which opened last week.
In 2012, the Louisville Downtown Development Corp. commissioned a study focused on connecting the Nucleus research park to downtown, the riverfront and NuLu, said Rebecca Matheny, LDDC interim executive director. After conferring with Nucleus CEO Vickie Yates Brown and Bruce Traughber, vice president of economic development, “this connector down Market became really important,” Matheny said.
With the LDDC study, Holland and LDDC executives had a detailed plan to take to the Jefferson County delegation for funding, she said.
It also gave legislators a multi-modal, sustainable plan that could be replicated in other Kentucky communities at the neighborhood level, Matheny said. Ultimately, the Jefferson County delegation was able to get the support of Rep. Sannie Overly from Paris, Majority Caucus chairwoman, and finally bipartisan support.
“When we first pitched this plan to the good folks in Frankfort … usually money for transportation was used for roads to get people out of Jefferson County or around Jefferson County,” Holland said.
Instead, the group pitched it as a way to get funding for a state road through the heart of Louisville that would spur revitalizing through follow-on private investment, investments that would in turn flow out to surrounding neighborhoods, he said.
“We’re all about connecting our neighborhoods to the rest of the city,” Holland said.
Sponsors for the event included: Brown-Forman, Old 502 Winery, Garage Bar, Gill Holland, and the NuLu Business Association.