The 800 Building | Courtesy Tikijian Associates
The 800 Building | Courtesy Tikijian Associates

The new owners of The 800 Building are asking the Metro Council to approve public financing for the much-anticipated renovation of the iconic downtown residence tower.

In a filing made public Tuesday, Detroit-based developer Village Green, which recently bought the 29-story building for $20.65 million, requests a tax increment financing district be established at the Fourth Street property. That would allow a portion of new local real estate taxes generated from the finished redevelopment to be passed back to the developer.

Under the proposed agreement, Village Green would be eligible for as much as $2.7 million in public financing over 20 years. That is approximately one-twelfth of the developer’s projected $32 million investment in the project.

“Areas with a concentration of urban residents become true communities, and serve as a draw for the development of restaurant, shopping and entertainment venues,” the proposed agreement says. “This project will support the city’s goal of bringing high-quality residential opportunities to urban Louisville. By providing an attractive, exciting place to live, the project will reinforce the ability of private and public employers to recruit young professional and creative people to Louisville in general and to Louisville’s Central Business District in particular.”

State law authorizes local authorities to create TIF districts in areas they determine are in need of economic assistance, or where a development is expected to spur future growth. They are increasingly used as a tool for government to entice developers to invest downtown; both the Omni Hotel and the lower-profile Hotel NuLu have been approved for TIF financing in recent months.

The 800 Building, constructed in 1963, has a vacancy rate of 30 percent, while 40 percent of its current tenants are considered low-income, according to the proposed ordinance authorizing the TIF, which is sponsored by Councilman David Tandy and Councilwoman Marianne Butler. Village Green’s redevelopment would create 100-125 temporary construction jobs and boost occupational taxes by $467,000 over the next two decades, in addition to increasing property taxes, the ordinance says.

The company is planning to split some of the building’s bigger units into one-bedrooms, bringing the unit count from 247 to 289. It has also said it would add luxurious amenities, including a rooftop skybar and pool, as well as a redesigned lobby and upgrades in every unit, such as gourmet kitchens, rain shower heads, and wood floors.

Village Green also is changing the name of the building to the 800 Tower City Apartments.

Company representatives indicated in a public meeting in April that current residents would have the option to remain in the building during renovations.

A spokesman for the developer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the TIF.

The ordinance is expected to be introduced at the council’s meeting Thursday and assigned to the Budget Committee for consideration.

Stephen George
Stephen George is news editor of Insider Louisville. He is a former editor of LEO Weekly and the Nashville City Paper, and a former news editor of the Nashville Scene. He has written for various other news and culture publications and is happy to be back in Louisville.