The Urban Government Center needs repairs and has a mold infestation. | Courtesy of Google Maps

Three prominent Louisville development companies, an out-of-town developer and the owner of Louisville Stoneware have submitted multimillion-dollar proposals on how they’d like to redevelop 12 acres of city-owned land in Paristowne Pointe.

The site along Barret Avenue, known as the Urban Government Center, housed offices for government employees, and some have since been relocated. The buildings on the property were found to be infested with mold, and city officials have repeatedly stated that the buildings would likely need to be demolished.

Last year, officials in the city’s economic development department, Louisville Forward, started hosting meetings with nearby residents and others to garner feedback about what the community would like to see built in place of the government office buildings. The process was different from the typical: the city sought input from residents about what to do with the large swath of public land prior to accepting redevelopment proposals from interested parties or waiting for developers to approach them.

Below is a summary of how each of the five developers would reuse the 12 acres. The full proposals are available on the city’s website. Residents can comment on the proposals online or attend a meeting at 6 p.m. April 17 at the Louisville Free Public Library, 301 York St.

Lifestyle Communities

Columbus-based Lifestyle Communities has proposed a $100-million plan that includes housing, a restaurant, a food business incubator, retail storefronts and an extended promenade along Brent Street. The company would seek state and local tax incentives for the project.

“By utilizing careful site planning, energetic community space, and quality architecture, this project will serve as a cultural centerpiece in an emerging historic neighborhood,” the proposal states, noting that plans call for keeping the original smokestack that was attached to the historic Louisville Baptist Hospital building.

The proposal calls for the construction a total of 370 dwelling units — a mix of apartments, townhouses and single-family homes — that would house an estimated 550 residents. The development also would have 600 parking spaces for residents and visitors.

If selected, Lifestyle Communities expects the development and construction process to take 36 months.

Lifestyle Communities has completed one other project in Louisville. It developed and operates LC Idlewild in St. Matthews.

According to the proposal, the company would bring its The Goat restaurant, which offers a mix of salads, burger, pizzas, wings and craft beers to Barret Avenue.

The Marian Group
The silver on top of several of the buildings is proposed solar panels. | Courtesy of The Marian Group

The Marian Group is one of the three well-known local developers to throw its hat in the ring. The company has developed numerous projects and currently is transforming a former mill into the multifamily housing development Bradford Mill Lofts.

“Our plan is to create the first development of its kind in Louisville — a mixed-use, mixed-income, intergenerational development that seeks balance between the wishes of the city, the needs of the neighborhood, the requirements of good urban planning and the realities of the market,” the proposal states.

The Marian Group’s plans include apartments, a boutique hotel, retail, restaurants, townhomes, condominiums, detached 21st-century shotgun houses, a community center and green space. The development company said it would offer housing for older residents on fixed incomes and plans to work with the local nonprofit Family Scholar House to incorporate low-income apartments for single parents.

More specifically, the proposal calls for 200 market-rate apartments; 34 two-story townhomes and top-floor condominiums; 12 shotguns; and more than 10,000-square-feet of commercial space.

The development team will include architecture firms EOP Architects and WorK Architecture + Design; law office Dinsmore; and landscape architecture firm CARMAN.

Justin Brown, a principal with The Marian Group, declined to provide a cost estimate, saying that their project could be scaled up or down, which would impact any potential cost.

Financing options, according to the proposal, could include low-income housing tax credits, a loan from the Community Foundation of Louisville, public/private partnership funding through the city, traditional bank financing and crowdfunding.

Steve Smith

Louisville Stoneware owner Steve Smith already has been leading the charge to redevelop a section of Paristown Pointe into an arts and culture district with a more than $28 million project.

He, along with partners, hopes to extend that project into the Urban Government Center property. The plans include brownstone townhomes starting at $450,000, with attached efficiency apartments that can be rented or serve as “granny flats;” modern versions of Louisville’s camelback houses starting at $290,000; and modern apartments including 35 studio units for a possible artist community.

The proposal also includes a public bike-sharing station; 900 parking spaces; green space; a 125-room boutique hotel; 20,000 square feet of commercial space and a 125,000- to 150,000-square-foot modern Class A office building.

Smith’s partners include Tennessee-based developer Bristol Development Group; architects de leon & primmer architecture workshop and wHY Architecture; landscape architect Booker Design Collaborative; multidisciplinary firms Urban 1 and JDavis Architects; engineering firm Gresham, Smith and Partners; and general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie.

Smith and Bristol would request a tax-increment financing district be created for the project, which the proposal says includes more than $35 million in public infrastructure.

Smith told Insider Louisville that estimated project costs are still being calculated.

Underhill Associates

Prominent local business Underhill Associates is a family-run development company that has worked in retail (Westport Village), market-rate apartments (Germantown Mill Lofts) and affordable units (Heritage Green) in Louisville.

For the 12 acres on Barret Avenue, the company has proposed bringing all those elements together. Underhill Associates has been in talks with Bellarmine University about including graduate student housing in the project and with Highland Community Ministries and Signature HealthCARE about child care and senior-living facilities.

“We are deeply committed to helping the city grow and prosper through investment and extraordinary effort put into catalytic projects,” the proposal states. “We are committed to creating value that benefits the surrounding community and doing so in an environmentally conscious manner. We are also committed to preserving Louisville’s historic fabric.”

In fact, Underhill Associates plans call for adaptive reuse of three existing buildings into a 230-unit senior housing facility, a 76-unit student housing center, a possible library, a restaurant and a gym. The proposal also features 54 three-story townhomes, a neighborhood green, a bike-sharing facility, a plaza on Barret Avenue and a 6,500-square-foot grocery store.

Partners include master planner MKSK; architect Pimsler Hoss Architects; consulting company Lazarus Group; landscape design firm Green 3 Studio; engineering firms Ramboll, ARSEE Engineers and Williams Creek Consulting; financial institutions Bank of America and Kentucky Realty Advisors; and general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie.

To fund the project, Underhill Associates would tap into existing tax credit and loan programs such as the state historic tax credits and Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund. IL did not immediately hear back from the company regarding a proposed project cost.

Weyland Ventures

As the mind behind the Louisville Slugger Museum, Whiskey Row Lofts, The Henry Clay renovation and numerous other projects, Bill Weyland’s name is synonymous with the development of downtown Louisville. His company Weyland Ventures is the final developer to pitch its proposal for revitalizing the Urban Government Center.

“This opportunity has the potential to encompass the very best of New and Old Urbanism, sustainability and environmental responsibility, and a 21st century approach to redevelopment; one that integrates a sensitivity to its surroundings and its history, a range of residential styles and price points, walkability, a mix of uses, and bold design,” the proposal states.

The proposal consists of 75 single-family homes, 250 multifamily housing units split among three separate buildings, commercial storefronts, a large park and pedestrian walkways. It plans to transform the site from one large “superblock” into multiple city blocks.

Weyland Ventures’ plans leave open the possibility that the buildings at 768 and 810 Barrett Ave. could be rehabilitated but notes that they may find that the buildings need to be torn down upon further inspection.

Its development partner is Norton Commons Development Group. Its other partners include consulting firm CityVisions Associates; architects Joseph and Joseph, Perkins + Will and Michael Watkins Architect; engineering firm Sabak Wilson Lingo; environmental consulting company ATC Group Services ; and real estate consultants Zimmerman/Volk Associates.

The company would seek historic tax credits, New Market Tax Credits and other public-private financing models such as a tax-increment financing district to help pay for the project.

David Tomes, managing partner of Norton Commons Development Group, told IL that project cost estimates aren’t available.

“It’s way too early to even begin to estimating the costs because there is no way to thoroughly evaluate the buildings,” he said.

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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]