Tuesday March 13, 2012
Will examine taxes, jobs, spin-off development
Saying Louisville Metro Government and the citizens need the facts about the value of Fourth Street Live, Mayor Greg Fischer today ordered an economic impact study of the downtown entertainment district.
“We have plenty of anecdotal evidence that Fourth Street Live is good for our downtown and good for our city’s overall economy. It is important that we have the actual facts, ” Fischer said. “With our new administration and some new Metro Council members, it’s important we all have a common understanding of the data and make fact-based decisions in valid economic terms on what the development means to Louisville.”
Ted Smith, director of the city’s Department of Economic Growth and Innovation, said the study will be independently conducted by the University of Louisville. Among other things, it will determine:
- The amount of state and local taxes generated by Fourth Street Live;
- The amount of spin-off economic development created by the district;
- The number of jobs created by construction and businesses operating in the district;
- The number of visitors to Fourth Street;
- The economic impact on Louisville’s convention and tourism business;
- The value of earned media attention for the city’s convention and tourism business;
- The public sector’s investments and returns on incentives for the project.
The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau will underwrite a portion of the study, with city government covering the remainder. The study is expected to cost about $10,000. CVB President and CEO Jim Wood said his agency is interested in knowing the impact because of the entertainment district’s importance to recruiting convention and tradeshow business.
The Cordish Company, a fourth generation family-owned corporation based in Baltimore, owns and operates Fourth Street Live. Cordish has invested $60 million in the entertainment district since 2001, transforming it from a decaying failed downtown shopping complex into a popular entertainment district. Cordish also operates entertainment districts in Baltimore, Kansas City, and Houston, among other places.
The Fourth Street Live study is one of several economic studies that Economic Growth and Innovation, under the leadership of Smith, plans for large developments in Louisville.
“These studies will help our city make decisions based on facts and can help our efforts to attract and retain businesses,” Smith said.
Cordish welcomed the study, which should be completed by late summer.
“We believe it is an excellent idea. We are incredibly proud that Fourth Street Live! has played an important role in the revitalization of downtown Louisville, generated millions in tax revenues, created hundreds of jobs and served as an important catalyst of spin-off benefits including as a critical driver for the Louisville convention and visitor industry,” said Megan Slattery, a Cordish spokeswoman. “It also should be noted that while the city has played an important role in Fourth Street Live!, the overwhelming majority of the investment has come from the private sector. Of great significance, Fourth Street Live! continues to thrive so that the jobs and economic benefits to the public sector are positioned to continue for years into the future.”