Construction Begins On Long-Delayed Project

By: Lexi Scheen • WLKY News • December 5, 2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It’s been seven years in the making, but a major construction project in downtown Louisville is finally breaking ground.The site at RiverPark Place looks like a bare construction site, but the ground has been broken on what Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and developers say is going to be a 40-acre multmillion dollar mixed-use community near downtown and the new Big Four Bridge.

“This is how cities grow and this is how great cities grow,” Fischer said.

A new marina with 150 state of the art boat slips as well as 166 upscale loft apartments at RiverPark Place are finally under construction. The project also includes a 3,000-foot promenade connecting Waterfront Park to Beargrass Creek.

“The marina and promenade will be open hopefully April 1 of next year, and hopefully we’ll have the first apartments ready to live in during the first quarter of 2013,” said developer Steve Poe.

The plan originated in 2004 with $38 million worth of deposits on condos and boat slips. It was put on hold in 2008 because of the economy.

Now, according to the Downtown Management District, almost 70 percent of the central business district’s condos have sold and most of those that haven’t are being rented.

RiverPark Place is starting with apartments ranging in price from $750 to $1,300 a month.

Originally, the project was to start with condos and we’ve changed that to build apartments so that we can build product that the market demands, and right now they’re demanding apartments,” Poe said.

Working closely with Waterfront Development, officials plan to add on-site restaurants, retail shops, office space and more over the next 10 to 12 years.

“You’re going to be able to walk. You’re going to be able to live, boat, eat, walk to a UofL game, pretty darn good,” Fischer said.

Officials are still looking into a few more things to draw more people to downtown living.

“We do need a department store, a grocery store as well. The closest grocery store is just five minutes away, so it’s not like, ‘Oh my gosh it’s 20 minutes away,’ but we’re working on those from a city development standpoint. It’s going to take some time, but it’s certainly on Downtown Development Corporation’s radar screen,” Fischer said.

Many downtown living areas told WLKY their business has picked up with the rejuvenation of downtown. Fischer said he expects RiverPark Place to be a hot spot once it’s completed.