Tuesday June 12, 2012
First Choice Market, a 20,000 square-foot, full-service grocery store located at 3044 Wilson Ave., is now open, serving an estimated 35,000 citizens in Louisville’s Park DuValle area and surrounding neighborhoods.
“This grocery has been a long-awaited addition to the HOPE VI revitalization of the Park DuValle neighborhood, a valuable retail service that the residents have needed and requested,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “First Choice will not only serve as a valuable anchor tenant for a new retail complex, it will bring needed jobs to the area and also will play a role in creating a healthier neighborhood by making fresh and wholesome foods more easily accessible to residents. I applaud the dedicated team of private and public sector leaders who have made the dream of this store a reality.”
First Choice Market will anchor the new retail center called Wilson Crossing and will feature a wide-selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, a deli counter and bakery to complement an extensive line of grocery items. The store will be managed by local, independent grocery operator ValuMarket, which has five other stores in the Louisville area.
“As developers with an emphasis on urban development, we understand the importance of having a full service grocery store for neighborhood sustainability,” said Robert Holmes, developer of First Choice Market and Wilson Crossing. “It was critical that we had a store owner/operator that had the kind of experience the ValuMarket organization brings to the table.”
The grocery store created more than 150 construction jobs, and 40 permanent jobs upon opening.
"Access to healthy foods is a top priority for every community, and First Choice Market is a welcome addition to West Louisville," said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3). "This full-service grocery store is a testament to the tremendous growth of Park DuValle, and it's a key investment in the future of this neighborhood."
The $4.4 million project is being funded by a combination of two city loans, tax credit financing, and federal stimulus dollars. It includes a $3.2 million loan from Louisville which is funded with CDBG-R (stimulus) funds, two $100,000 city METCO loans, $35,000 for sidewalks from Councilwoman Mary Woolridge, and a nearly $1.2 million New Markets Tax Credit equity commitment by U.S. Bank in partnership with Louisville Development Bancorp.
“Louisville Development Bancorp and Metro Bank are excited about this project and its community impact,” said Pedro Bryant, president of Metro Bank. “Our relationship with the Villages of Park DuValle has been long-term and we hope that the opening of First Choice Market encourage others to take on projects that provide jobs and needed community services.”
In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a $540,000 grant to the Canaan Community Development Corporation to be used for the grocery store. The grant money has gone toward the store’s initial inventory and to train employees.
“I have pushed very hard for a supermarket in this area since I was elected to office, and I commend Robert Holmes for having vision and faith in this community to support the success of a full service store,” said Councilwoman Mary Woolridge. “The District 3 office was proud to provide a tangible contribution to First Choice Market with a CIF grant for sidewalk installation on Wilson Avenue and Wyandotte.”
“The opening of the First Choice Market ushers in a new era of economic development for the Park DuValle community and now provides the families and children there easier access to fresh and wholesome meal choices,” said HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr.
The Metropolitan Sewer District also contributed $147,000 to the project and worked with the developers to construct a building and site that is environmentally friendly with features like pervious pavers and bio-retention basins.
“This development furthers the goal of the New Markets Tax Credit Program and of U.S. Bank to provide financing for projects that create economic opportunities in communities across the country,” said David Wombwell, Louisville Market President for U.S. Bank. In 2011, USBCDC announced it would allocate a significant portion of its New Markets Tax Credit investments to projects that increase healthy, affordable food availability in high-need urban and rural communities.
"On behalf of all those persons that labored tirelessly to see this project come to fruition, we are proud to have been afforded the opportunity to partner with others in the development of First Choice Market and we are pleased that through our efforts a vital need in the Park DuValle neighborhood will be fulfilled,” said Dr. Walter Malone Jr., CEO of Canaan Community Development Corporation.
About The Villages at Park DuValle
The HOPE VI revitalization of the Park DuValle neighborhood began in 1994. The goal was to create a mixed income community of more than 1,000 new homes, townhouses and apartments. The Cotter and Lang public housing developments were razed and in their place a $200 million investment was created. Under the federal Hope VI program, Louisville Metro Government, Louisville Metro Housing Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as private lenders and investors worked together to develop the nationally-recognized neighborhood.