Graphic by Louisville Downtown Partnership
Graphic by Louisville Downtown Partnership

Want to know where downtown is headed? Is all that conversation just talk? Is all that construction just annoying chaos leading to nowhere?

The Louisville Downtown Partnership has produced a small graphic with all the answers.

“We’re calling it ‘Time Well Spent,’” says Jeanne Hilt, marketing, communications and events manager for LDP. “It’s our way of letting citizens know that, while all this development will take time, we want them to look ahead to 2018 when this wave of development will be completed and our downtown will be transformed.”

By 2018, Louisville’s downtown residential population is expected to grow by 10 percent, Hilt says. Currently, 4,668 Louisville residents live downtown, and the Downtown Partnership expects to add 478 residents in the next two years.

Where will they live?

The available number of residential units is expected to grow by 27 percent: Currently, there are 2,583 market-rate units downtown. All the current construction, plus recently announced plans, are expected to add 692 new units in the next two years.

That will include, already underway: 260 apartment units at Main and Clay; 225 units as part of the Omni Hotel & Residences project; 100 units in the Canopy by Hilton project; and smaller amounts at Ice House Lofts, 111 Whiskey Row, and the Fincastle building, though the latter will house students, as Insider Louisville reported in today’s Monday Business Briefing.

There are another 12 new units announced for the Lofts on Hancock.

Where will they work?

By 2018, the amount of leasable office space is expected to increase by 4.5 percent. Currently, 9.05 million square feet of downtown office space is occupied. Various companies are expected to lease an additional 406,200 square feet of space in the next two years.

Specifically, that new office space will occur at the Kindred Healthcare headquarters (142,000 square feet), 811-819 W. Main St. (97,000 square feet), 741-749 S. Third St. (40,000 square feet) and 111 Whiskey Row (13,300 square feet).

As a result:

The number of Louisvillians working downtown is expected to grow by 4.5 percent. Currently, there are 65,900 downtown employees, and the Downtown Partnership expects another 3,000 jobs to be created.

Other projections by 2018:

The number of downtown hotel rooms will increase 47 percent. We now have 17 hotels with a total of 4,790 rooms. In the next two years, new hotel construction will add eight hotels and a total of 1,526 new rooms – Omni Hotel (600 rooms), Canopy by Hilton (260 rooms), AC NuLu Hotel (140 rooms), Homewood Suites (133 rooms), Cambria Hotel & Suites (128 rooms), Hotel Indigo (110 rooms), Home 2 Suites by Hilton (100 rooms) and Vu Guest House (55 rooms).

Downtown retail space will increase by 7 percent. We currently have 1.45 million square feet of retail space. Look for an additional 99,100 square feet of space in the next two years, says the Downtown Partnership. That will include any kind of service related business — i.e., dry cleaners as well as shopping and restaurants.

There will be an additional 20 percent of downtown attractions. Five new attractions will open, including four new bourbon-related venues: Michter’s Distillery, Rabbit Hole Distilling, Angel’s Envy Distillery and Old Forester Distillery.

Overall, says the LDP, “metro-wide Louisville development is estimated to exceed $4 billion in the next two years. And all this excludes the $860 million downtown component of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

If all this is important to the growth of Louisville — adding jobs, tourism and convention revenue and new young professionals who call the city home — then the snarling traffic and construction impediments might seem a bit more tolerable.

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Steve Kaufman
Steve Kaufman has been writing professionally since the Johnson administration (Lyndon, not Andrew) on all manner of subjects, from sports to city hall to sales and marketing to running a medical practice to designing stores. His journey has taken him from Chicago to Buffalo to New York to Atlanta to Cincinnati, before landing, finally, in Louisville.