Although the west Louisville Walmart and YMCA projects haven’t broken ground, at least one group is banking on the developments spurring economic growth along Broadway.
Mezza LLC has purchased an 18,646-square-foot multi-tenant office building at 2001 W. Broadway for $545,000, according to Reed Weinberg, president and a principal at real estate firm PRG Commercial Property Advisors, who broker the sale of the property.
Mezza is a local investment group that includes Realtor Scott Hunt, owner of Equus Realty LLC. The same group owns several multi-family rental properties in the West End as well.
The building, called Mudd Plaza, is currently about 50 percent leased, and Mezza LLC will need to invest money in structural improvement, Hunt said. He did not have initial investment figures and was not sure if they’d look to rename the center.
Hunt said they plan to talk to the current tenants, which include gospel radio station WLOU, a barber shop, a couple hair salons and an airbrushed T-shirt shop, about what they’d like to see change in the building.
The building has five open office spaces, ranging from 900 square feet to 2,200 square feet, which will be renovated as they are leased, Hunt said, adding that he’d like to see a restaurant, jewelry store and attorney’s office move in.
“Broadway is a great avenue for investment,” Hunt said, noting the sites for the $25 million Walmart and $26 million YMCA projects are nearby. “I’m hoping it’s going to be an area for growth.”
Hunt said he and his partners want to catch the worm early.
“I believe that anybody who tries coming after Walmart to get a foothold is going to be a little late to the party,” he said.
However, Mezza LLC may have to wait a bit before reaping any benefits of being near a big-box store. The Walmart project is delayed as it moves through litigation. Kevin Thompson, director of public affairs and government relations for Walmart, told Insider Louisville on Tuesday that there is no timeline for when the lawsuit — filed by residents and neighborhood groups opposed to the project — will be settled.
As for the YMCA project, the nonprofit still is seeking to secure funding.
PRG Investments has sold several properties along West Broadway, which serves as the premiere commercial corridor for the West End, Weinberg said.
Selling property along the corridor can be a challenge, he added. The purchase price and needed investment costs to renovate rundown buildings along the road need to be worth it since going rental rates in the area are lower than other parts of the city.
But a large investment on the part of Walmart is bound to draw well-seasoned investors and create a trickle-down development effect along Broadway, Weinberg said.
“(The Walmart) is going to be absolutely transformative.”