In real cities, says Bill Weyland, people walk.
Inherent in that urban philosophy, of course, is the assumption of a density of downtown residents — people with jobs, entertainment, parks, restaurants and retail within walking distance.
To achieve that density in Louisville, Weyland’s City Investment Group and Indianapolis-based Sheehan Property Management have started construction of 310 at NuLu, 173 market-rate Chicago-inspired apartments on Hancock Street between Jefferson and Liberty.
The three-building project will total about 145,000 square feet on about 2 acres. Three-Ten at NuLu is two blocks southwest of the NuLu arts, restaurant and business district, two blocks from the east side of the downtown hospital complexes, and about two blocks from the University of Louisville’s new Nucleus building at Floyd and Market streets.
He added in an interview this morning that a construction trailer is on site along with equipment. After the current polar blast passes, construction will begin, he said.
Weyland declined to say how much capital the multiphase 310 NuLu residential project will require other than to say “a substantial investment.”
Rather, he focused on how 310 at NuLu might be a pivotal puzzle piece to greater urban density.
“The key to this is walkability between areas of town,” Weyland said.
He identified 310 at NuLu as the connector between the activity “nodes” of NuLu and the medical district along Abraham Flexner Way. The medical district, which includes hospitals and medical facilities operated by the University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health and Norton Health Care, employs about 20,000 people.
Future plans call for redevelopment of the complex into a more campus-like setting, with green space and plantings. “We hope that gets implemented,” Weyland said.
In addition, work is slated to begin on a $13 million streetscape project from Nucleus at Floyd and Market streets down East Market to Home of the Innocents on the east end of NuLu.
The new housing, along with the surrounding The Edge at Liberty Green mixed-income units, “connects those nodes … and that turns this from the city we are now to the city we aspire to be,” Weyland said.
City Development Group is working with Indianapolis-based Sheehan. The group of planners and architects studied housing in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area around DePaul University as they crafted plans for 310 at NuLu.
The design by CSO Architects, based in Indianapolis, “is a style you’d see in major, major cities,” Weyland said.
Designed as three, four-story buildings, the apartment complex will have a mix of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units, all of which will be Energy Star certified. Amenities will include off-street parking, a fitness room, lounge, and on-site leasing office.
Rents will range from $780 per month to $1,400 per month, Weyland said.
The multi-phase 310 at NuLu will start with market-rate apartments. Future phases will add what Weyland terms “workforce housing” that is somewhat subsidized, as well as student housing.
The surrounding EDGE at NuLu is a mixed-use development covering a 12-block area between eastern downtown and NuLu, housing that is termed HOPE VI, funded in part by federal money through the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.
Under its HOPE VI program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development helps fund mixed-income redevelopment to replace distressed public housing. The goal for the area is ultimately to have 60 percent market rate housing and 40 percent workforce housing on the 16 acres controlled by City Investments and the city, Weyland said.
At this point, total downtown housing is split 50-50 between market rate and workforce housing, he said.
Three-Ten at NULU represents the next phase in the multi-year build out of the EDGE development. During the past four years, the EDGE has added a combination of 44 market-rate apartments and owner-occupied homes, a Subway, and the NuLu Food Market.
Later phases of construction envision four-to-six story mid-rise multi-use buildings designed to provide even greater residential density, along with storefronts and offices. But Weyland stressed the new market-rate apartments will have to fetch rents that justify future downtown investment: “We need projects that prove there is a market.”
In addition to being part of the development, Sheehan will lease and manage the apartment complex.
Sheehan Construction-NULU is general contractor on the project. Project financing is provided by Associated Bank, based in Green Bay, Wisc., and the Downtown Housing Fund.