Economic Development Newsroom 

$50 million shopping-office complex planned for Downtown Louisville

Tuesday March 20, 2007

Downtown Louisville is getting a major new shopping and office complex that will feature everything from clothing, furniture and jewelry stores to restaurants, cafes and coffee shops.

The $50 million Iron Quarter, being developed by Louisville resident Todd Blue, will be located in the 100 block of East Main Street, adjacent to the city’s planned $252 million downtown arena.

“The arena is already paying huge dividends, even before the first shovel of dirt is turned,” Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “This proves that our decision to build the arena downtown was correct.”

Abramson said the city center and the neighborhoods around it are already booming with new lofts, condos and apartments.

“Now, Iron Quarter will bring much-needed retail shopping to downtown,” Abramson said. “Imagine having dinner or shopping for blue jeans at Iron Quarter before attending a basketball game in the new arena.”

Blue owns eight buildings in the block, along with a vacant lot. Six of the building have historic cast-iron facades, hence the name Iron Quarter. The development’s name also pays homage to the Blue family’s former scrap metal business, which for decades operated nearby.

Blue plans to keep the historic cast-iron facades while building a new glass structure on the vacant lot. He will also construct a series of new glass and steel structures on top of the East Main buildings, merging historic 19th century architecture with contemporary 21st century style. The project was designed by Bravura, a Louisville architectural firm headed by Jim Walters.

“While preserving the character of the existing time-honored architecture, Iron Quarter will create a modern, functional and accessible downtown core of activity, excitement and energy,” Blue said. “It is a destination representing all that is fresh, chic and sophisticated about Louisville.”

Iron Quarter will contain about 120,000 square feet of retail space and 110,000 square feet of office space. In addition, 500 parking spaces will be tucked inside the development. Blue has not yet named the tenants he is seeking for Iron Quarter, but said they will be popular stores familiar to many people.

Construction is to begin this December with a grand opening scheduled for spring 2010.

Blue is president and CEO of Cobalt Ventures, whose mission is to develop “urban inspired real estate.” Cobalt’s nationally award-winning projects in Louisville include Cobalt Marketplace which houses Market on Market, Primo Restaurant and numerous commercial businesses, the architecturally-significant Preston Pointe multi-use complex, Cobalt 301 East Main, which is home to Metro Dental Group and First Omni and the industrial, urban Mercantile Gallery Lofts.

Iron Quarter By the Numbers

  • 9 of 13 buildings/lots bounded by 1st and 2nd streets, Washington & Main Streets
  • Approx. 110,000 sq. ft. office space
  • Approx. 120,000 sq. ft. of retail space
  • 500 additional parking spaces to be added, designated for retail, commercial, concierge service
  • 6 of the 8 existing buildings have historic cast-iron facades (9th lot is vacant, building has been torn down)
  • Office tower designed as 12-14 stories, engineered for up to 23 stories
  • Approaches $50M in total cost
  • Construction to begin in December, 2007
  • Grand opening scheduled for Spring, 2010
  • Physical address is 101-119 Main Street,, Louisville, Kentucky 40202



Main Street View
Main Street looking west.
Click image to enlarge.

Washington Street View
Washington Street looking west. Click image to enlarge.

Iron Quarter By the Numbers