Economic Development Newsroom

New Job Hub Envisioned for Park Hill

Tuesday June 24, 2008

Today’s empty and abandoned industrial sites near Louisville’s urban core may be tomorrow’s job hubs for the city, under a new planning effort Louisville Metro officials launched today.

At a meeting tonight at the Sud-Chemie office on W. Hill St., Mayor Jerry Abramson kicked off a public-involvement process that will guide the implementation of improvements and economic-development efforts throughout 1,400 acres of the Park Hill area – which lies near downtown and between Old Louisville, West Louisville and the University of Louisville.

“The Park Hill industrial corridor’s size and proximity to significant workforce and transportation infrastructure make it an incredible redevelopment opportunity,” Mayor Abramson said. “Property of this acreage, and with these assets, is rare near the city’s center, so we are seeking input from a wide range of citizen groups, business groups and national experts to help us convert this rare urban gem to a new generation job hub for Louisville.”

Roughly bounded by Broadway to the north, S. 22nd St. to the west, Algonquin Parkway and Winkler Ave. to the south, and portions of Old Louisville and the University of Louisville campus to the east, Park Hill’s industrial corridor is roughly the size of 250 downtown city blocks, or 1,200 football fields. It includes several former manufacturing plants and closed industrial facilities, including the former American Standard, Philip Morris, Reynolds Metals and Rhodia SA properties.

“With some private developments underway, we wanted to step back and take a wide-angle view of how to maximize the opportunity available across the entire area, when looking at other available and underutilized property throughout this corridor,” said Bruce Traughber, director of the Louisville Metro Economic Development Department, which is heading the planning effort.

The city has hired EDAW Inc., an urban-design planning and consulting firm based in Alexandria, Va., to lead what is expected to be a nine-month process to gather input and develop an implementation plan to improve Park Hill’s industrial corridor and attract job-creating businesses.

“This strategy will be built upon the recommendations of recent economic and transportation studies, and integrate the input of area stakeholders,” said Ryan Bouma, senior associate with EDAW. He said the implementation strategy will address business, retail and industrial opportunities, transportation and other infrastructure, green space and neighborhood connections.

The firm has led major award-winning urban-design projects within Louisville and across the world, including the West Main Street Cultural Arts District, the National Capital Framework Plan in Washington, D.C, the City of Chester improvement plans in Chester, Penn., the Tidal Schuylkill River master plan in Philadelphia, and the master plan for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

Market Analysis reveals opportunity

One foundation for the strategy will be a real-estate market analysis, conducted by Economics Research Associates and released today.

The study found that the Park Hill industrial corridor has the potential to support between 550,000 and 850,000 square feet of new office and industrial space, and 52,000 to 78,000 square feet of new retail space. Also when fully developed, the corridor could generate up to 2,700 jobs for the community and provide an economic impact of up to $336 million annually.

“With the potential this area has, the challenge for the community now is building the game plan to help us get there, knowing the types of businesses to attract to which properties, and how it all inter-relates with the road system, parks and neighborhoods,” Traughber said.

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