Contractors, painters and landscapers were putting the finishing touches on the Louisville Grows Healthy House in Portland on Friday afternoon, just hours before the facility’s grand opening was scheduled to kick off. Insider Louisville got a sneak peek of the new building, which is flooded with sunlight from its many windows, with high ceilings and welcoming warm colors.

In addition to being the new HQ for the 12 employees of Louisville Grows — a nonprofit focused on building community through urban agriculture, urban forestry and environmental education — Healthy House will offer conference, activity, event and classroom areas, as well as a commercial kitchen for cooking classes.

Interim Executive Director Jessica Pendergrass gave IL a tour of the building, which was constructed with sustainability in mind. Its features include a green roof planted with sedum, wildflowers and beehives; a car-charging station; two rain gardens; and eco-friendly plumbing, heating and cooling.

Investor Gill Holland first suggested the building be part of his 21st Century Shotguns program in Portland. Philanthropist Christina Lee Brown and the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation stepped up and funded the Healthy House. AJRC Architecture designed the structure, and Realm Construction built it.

Louisville Grows still is raising money for a number of fixtures including kitchen appliances, Pendergrass said. Corporate sponsors have donated some of the supplies: For example, GE Appliances donated an eco-friendly water heater, Bardstown Florist and Gifts provided interior plants, and Plumber’s Supply Company took care of all the building’s plumbing needs.

The building, located at 1641 Portland Ave., also houses a hallway art gallery. The first show is called “New Beginnings,” in celebration of the grand opening. Local artists featured include Becky LeCron, Mari Mujica, Ron Whitehead and Julia Youngblood.

Several neighborhood organizations and corporations already have signed up to use the space for meetings and gatherings. You can check out activities at Healthy House and also sign up to rent space for your community gathering via the online calendar page.

Tonight’s grand opening takes place from 4-7 p.m. From 4-6 p.m. there will be an open house for visitors, and at 6 p.m. there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony and brief speeches. Healthy House is located at 1641 Portland Ave.

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