The plan submitted to Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services offers a basic rendering of what one of the multi-family housing buildings would look like. | Drawing by Studio Kremer Architects
The plan submitted to Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services offers a basic rendering of what one of the multi-family housing buildings would look like. | Drawing by Studio Kremer Architects

More than three years after buying the Portland Christian School property, the owners have filed preliminary plans with the city to develop part of the land.

Portland Stroll District LLC bought the 2-acre parcel at 2500 Montgomery St. back in March 2013 for $400,000, according to a previous Insider Louisville story. Prior to that, it was owned by the Portland Christian School, which closed down its elementary school there in 2010.

The reuse of the historic school building is part of a broader Portland neighborhood revitalization effort, but besides the creation of a small community garden, little development has taken place there since the purchase.

More than a year ago, Gill Holland stated that the Portland Investment Initiative, the nonprofit leading the revitalization, did not have the money to fix up the former school building. Holland and Gregg Rochman, founder of design and construction company Shine Contracting, are partners in Portland Stroll District LLC.

The Compassion Building will remain, and the apartments will be new construction. | Photo by Melissa Chipman
The Dolfinger building, formerly known as the Compassion Building, will remain, and the apartments will be new construction. | Photo by Melissa Chipman

However, on Monday the company filed a Revised District Development Plan with Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services that calls for 34 multifamily, workforce housing units on the property. Rochman told IL in a phone interview that housing has always been part of the plan for that land.

The multifamily housing will be new construction, not a renovation of existing buildings. According to the plan submitted to the city, the exterior of the buildings would be made out of wood and a fiber-cement lap siding.

The units most likely will be constructed in phases, Rochman said, with eight units per two-story building.

Holland told IL in an email Tuesday morning that they are working on renderings but don’t currently have any financing for the project and are “not sure where or if we will get it.”

“(We) think that more folks living in Portland will help both the existing shops and bring more business and jobs to this part of town,” Holland said in the email. “The houses that were on this one acre site were all torn down after the 1937 flood, and the site sat vacant until we brought Louisville Grows to the site.”

The “beautiful” historic Montgomery Street school building will remain, he said. The Portland Stroll District LLC still plans to turn the building into office space for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.

The school building was erected in the mid-1800s and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. During the Civil War, the building was repurposed as a hospital for wounded soldiers.

Because the exact details of the Portland housing development are still in the works, Rochman said he did not want to comment further at this time.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]