Louisville Magazine

MAR 2017

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.17 63 e city hopes to leverage an additional $200 million for projects that will attract businesses, target vacant and abandoned properties, and hopefully transform Muhammad Ali west of Ninth into an arts and cultural strip. "(Russell) is so well situated to just explode, with its proximity to everything — downtown and the river," says Tim Barry, executive director of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority. And with 1,400 historic homes and buildings, many of which boast Italianate and Victo- rian design, the hope is that Louisvillians will start eyeing Russell as a place full of potential. A lot of planning on how to achieve Russell's renaissance is underway. One of the first projects? A three- or four-story senior-housing complex at Ninth and Ali, where Old Walnut Street Park sits. (Either retail or service amenities for seniors will fill the first floor.) Harold Williamson, who owns commercial property in Russell, was disappointed when he heard this. Bored, even. "We're all looking forward to Choice, and what's the first thing we're going to do? We're building a senior-hous- ing complex," he says, sighing. Williamson is all for great elderly housing, but the an- nouncement seemed anti-climactic to him. (Many Russell residents asked for more senior housing in community meetings related to CNI. And Barry promises it will be a "wow" building.) Because this is the first CNI project in Louisville and is a seven-year endeavor, how and what the finished product will look like is unclear. Here's what we know. What will $29.5 million accomplish? Most of that money will focus on Beecher Terrace, one of the city's last barracks- style public-housing complexes, built in 1939. The $29.5 million grant will pay for demolition, relocation of residents, case management and construction of new mixed-income units. Relocation may begin at the end of this year. So the whole grant goes to Beecher? Nope. Up to 15 percent of the grant must go to so-called Critical Community Improvements (CCIs). One CCI project will provide financing for the Village @ West Jefferson, a 30,000-square-foot office/ retail development adjacent to Beecher Terrace. Other CCI projects include home- rehab programs, a media production center at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, micro business loans and low- interest loans for businesses to expand or relocate to Russell. Where will the additional $200 million come from? That $200 million figure is a goal. Metro government has looked at possible funding streams like low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, grants, LMHA funds and money from nonprofits like Metro United Way. What areas beyond Beecher will be targeted for revitalization? Home to Sweet Peaches and the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, the area around 18th and Muhammad Ali is a logical first step. "We're going to be working with property owners or different divisions of the city to get site control (of vacant and underused properties), so we can support commercial development of that corridor," says Jeana Dunlap, director of the city's Office of Redevelopment Strategies. The area around Cedar Street will be targeted for home ownership. Cedar Street is part of the Russell Urban Renewal Initiative, a 27-year-old project that's partnered nonprofits with the city to build new housing and improve streets and sidewalks. Continued on page 103 Renderings courtesy of Metro Housing Authority

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