Economic Development Newsroom

City Readies Park Hill Area for Business Growth

Friday October 16, 2009

Mayor Jerry Abramson today began the first phase of a multi-year initiative to help businesses grow and expand in the Park Hill Industrial Corridor – 1,400 acres currently dotted with many under-utilized or empty commercial properties, and sitting adjacent to downtown, west Louisville neighborhoods, Old Louisville and the University of Louisville.

The announcement was the culmination of a number of studies and public meetings that led to the development of what’s being called the Park Hill Industrial Corridor Implementation Strategy.

“We now have the roadmap to guide our business-development efforts and help realize this corridor’s tremendous economic potential,” Abramson said.

Park Hill ActivityOne of the strategy’s highlights involves focusing the combined business attraction and development efforts of Metro Government and Greater Louisville Inc. on a number of key industry “clusters” identified as having the most potential for growth in the area. The industry clusters include business services, distribution, construction, clean manufacturing and research, processed foods and craft manufacturing.

These industries were identified in the recently completed ICIC Micro-Cluster Analysis, a study commissioned through a $60,000 grant provided by Philip Morris, which once operated a major manufacturing operation in the Park Hill corridor. The ICIC findings are reflected in the final Implementation Strategy.

The study found that the identified industries, in particular, would benefit from the Park Hill corridor’s real estate availability, proximity to existing businesses and convenient access to air, highway and rail transportation infrastructure. The study also recommends the industry clusters because of their ability to provide job opportunities with a range of skills and upward mobility for area residents.

Strategy outlines improvements to encourage business growth

The Park Hill Industrial Corridor Implementation Strategy identifies and prioritizes near-term and long-term aesthetic improvements, transportation changes, land-use enhancements and programs and policies needed to make the Park Hill corridor a magnet for businesses and new jobs.

A key focus will be recasting the corridor as a demonstration center for “green” practices, products and services. A number of projects, totaling more than $2.5 million, will begin immediately.

“By making these kinds of forward-looking investments, we can show prospective companies the types of innovation that is possible here and that Louisville is ready to be a part of the green economy.” Abramson said.

The demonstration projects underway include:

· Installing a green roof atop the Metro Archives Building at 7th St. and Industry Rd., to help absorb water to minimize runoff and reduce the heat-island effect common in urban areas. In addition, 18 wind turbines will be installed on the roof to lower energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, to test the technology and to promote green innovation. The $1 million project is funded through federal stimulus funds and will be complete next spring.

· Initiating a number of drainage, storm water management, bio-retention, energy efficiency and renewable energy demonstration projects. MSD will invest $1 million over the next three years in several green engineering projects throughout the Park Hill area.

· Installing 12 new sidewalks and making more than 150 sidewalk repairs and ramp replacements in the area. The sidewalk projects will be funded through $575,000 in federal stimulus funding and be complete next summer.

In total, the strategy outlines approximately 70 recommendations, many to be implemented as public-private partnerships.

“It’s going to take the collaborative effort of government and the private sector to bring about this full vision,” Abramson said.

Public funding would be comprised of Louisville Metro, MSD and Kentucky Transportation dollars over several budget years. Other entities in the corridor are already creating positive change, including UofL’s new student apartment complex at the former American Standard property and TARC’s maintenance annex currently being built using the latest in green design and construction.

One of the strategy’s components, establishing a business association to assist the existing businesses in the corridor, already is complete.

“The businesses in this area are, for the first time, collaborating to support each other and this corridor as a productive and thriving place to do business,” said Bob Patterson, of Consumers Choice Coffee, who serves as the Park Hill Business Association’s first president. “We’re excited about the potential this area has, and the improvements that will benefit our businesses as well as other companies who come here.”

The city worked with EDAW, an urban-design planning and consulting firm based in Alexandria, Va., to develop the Park Hill Industrial Corridor Implementation Strategy. The firm also has led major award-winning urban-design projects within Louisville and across the world, including Louisville’s West Main Street Cultural Arts District, the National Capitol Framework Plan in Washington, D.C., and the master plan for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

In addition to the ICIC Micro Cluster Analysis, other studies that informed the final Implementation Strategy are ERA’s Real Estate Market Analysis and ENTRAN’s Transportation Study.

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