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Metro Newsroom

New High-Rise Planned for Downtown Louisville

Thursday February 15, 2007

ZirMed Gateway Towers a $25 million project

A glass box rising 12 stories into the air. Rooftop decks with panoramic views of downtown. Fifteen to 20 condominiums. A 285-car garage. A restaurant. A high-tech home for a high-tech company.

ZirmedThese are some of the highlights of the new ZirMed Gateway Towers, a $25 million high-rise planned for downtown Louisville by developer Bill Weyland.

Weyland, along with Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, announced today that the project will be constructed at 9th and Market streets. It is the third phase of the Glassworks district, which Weyland began developing in 2000 and has since become a unique urban neighborhood with artists, businesses and loft condos and apartments.

“Just imagine ZirMed Gateway Towers glowing at night – and imagine the view from the two rooftop decks,” Abramson said today at a news conference. “Bill Weyland and ZirMed are adding yet another exciting dimension to our buzzing downtown.”

“Glassworks has already transformed western downtown, bringing life to a once-desolate area,” Abramson said. “ZirMed will now add another unique dimension to the thriving area.”

ZirMed Gateway Towers – to be constructed of concrete and vast expanses of glass – will anchor the western edge of downtown and be a welcoming site for visitors entering the city from the 9th Street exit off I-64.

It is the fourth major mixed-use project by Weyland and his CITY Properties Group. The others are the Louisville Slugger Museum and Bat Factory, Glassworks Lofts and the renovation of the historic Henry Clay building. All projects have had a significant impact on Louisville’s urban revitalization, Abramson said.

The city, through the Downtown Housing Fund, provided a $600,000 low-interest loan for the project. Metro Government committed another $180,000 to bury utility lines and to improve the streetscape in front of the development.

The ZirMed Gateway Towers project also was awarded $20.8 million in Federal New Markets Tax Credits administered by Louisville Community Development Bancorp. The tax credits were a major component to financing the project.

“This is exactly what the New Markets program is intended to do… create economic development and jobs where they are needed most,” said Pedro Bryant, the bank’s president and CEO. “We are extremely pleased to make this award because we know this project is one more important step in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Louisville.”

ZirMed to anchor development
The ZirMed Gateway Towers will contain 140,000 square feet and create a campus-like feel, Weyland said. The anchor tenant is ZirMed, a fast-growing Louisville-based health care technology company that will consolidate its three offices into the new location. The state of Kentucky awarded the company $1.5 million in tax credits for the expansion.

“It is particularly gratifying to our CITY Properties team that we were able to take the next step in developing the Glassworks District,” Weyland said. “It is wonderful to see the progress that has been made in this area over the past 10 years. ZirMed has an entrepreneurial spirit and we are glad to be part of that.”

“ZirMed has always been committed to downtown and this will allow us to plant deep roots and to continue our growth and expansion,” said Jerry Merritt, president and CEO of ZirMed, Inc.

“We are very excited to unite our employees into one location – and what a great work environment it will be.”

The Jarfi Acquisition Group, owner of Jarfi’s Bistro at The Kentucky Center, will open a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch on the first floor of Gateway Towers. The company also will operate a catering service on site.

The development has room for other retail or commercial tenants. A financial services firm is being targeted for a street-level retail space.

The first phase of construction starts immediately and will be completed by June 2008.

Other revenue sources for the project include:

  • $6.2 million in tax credit equity invested by US Bank’s Community Development Corporation of St. Louis;
  • $10.4 million loan from Enterprise Bank of St. Louis and its participating lender, Stock Yards Bank of Louisville;
  • Citizens Union Bank of Shelbyville, which is funding the condominium development loans;
  • Fifth Third Bank, which is providing additional financial commitments
  • More than $4 million from private investors.