A Georgia-based company plans to invest millions in a mixed-use development in Louisville’s popular NuLu neighborhood, and it wants help from the city to cover some of the cost.
Flournoy Cos. plans to buy the properties at 700 E. Main St. and 121 S. Clay St., a total of 4.7 acres, and demolish most of the buildings. The properties currently are home to and owned by Service Welding & Machine Co.
“All buildings will be demolished with the exception of the brick façade of the building on the corner of Clay (Street) and Billy Goat Strut Alley. We will be working to keep the façade of this building and incorporating it in to our development,” Blake Breimann, vice president of the subsidiary Flournoy Development Co., said in an email to Insider Louisville. He declined to be interviewed over the phone.
Flournoy Cos. expects to close on the property during the first quarter of 2017. Breimann did not respond to a question asking how much it planned to pay for the land purchase.
According to Jefferson County property records, the two parcels were valued at $2.5 million in 2009, the last date of assessment. The listing price for the properties was $8.9 million, according to a previous IL story.
The company plans to erect a new five-story, 270-unit apartment complex with roughly 5,000 square feet of retail at the site. Previous media reports indicated there was no retail included in the project, with Broken Sidewalk lamenting that fact in an in-depth post; however, plans have since changed.
“We have modified our plan slightly since the neighborhood meeting in order to work with the neighbors, as well as the city to help contribute to the continued vibrancy of the area,” Breimann wrote.
Current plans call for units starting at 490 square feet and $1,150 a month and going up to 1,446 square feet and $2,400 a month, he said in the email. The project will be complete in late summer or fall 2018.
A key component of the development, Breimann said, is city tax incentives.
“The project is contingent upon receiving tax incentives similar to what have been being obtained/awarded by other similar developments,” he said.
The company is still working on cost estimates for the project, but Flournoy Cos. will ask Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government for $4.5 million to $4.75 million in tax incentives over a 20-year period — close to what was awarded to the 260-unit Main and Clay apartment and condominium project across the street. In December, Nashville-based Bristol Development Group received $4.46 million in tax incentives over a 25-year period for its $46 million project.
When asked, Breimann said the NuLu development won’t include any affordable housing units, “just as the Clay and Main project does not have an affordable component.”
However, the company may face an uphill battle to acquire incentives without at least some affordable units. This year — after the Main and Clay incentives were approved — affordable housing advocates have gained support and traction for its lobby against handing out tax incentives to developers without a commitment to affordable housing.
Louisville Metro Council members just last week declined to vote on $7.5 million in tax incentives for two urban in-fill projects — the Mercy Academy and Phoenix Hill mixed-use developments. They sent the tax incentive agreements back to the council’s Labor and Economic Development Committee following a report by IL questioning the affordability of the project’s 19 “affordable housing units.”
Metro Councilman Bill Hollander, D-9, plans to sponsor an ordinance that would require all companies that want tax incentives from the city to include some level of affordable housing in their multi-family housing developments.
Flournoy Cos. has developed in Louisville before but not since the early 2000s. The project was a suburban apartment complex near Factory Lane and the Gene Snyder Freeway called The Terraces at Forest Springs. The East Market Street development will be its first in-fill, urban development in Louisville.
“We are really excited to also become neighbors to the Clay and Main project being developed by Bristol Development Group, as we feel like both of our projects can really help contribute to the continued momentum of the area and E. Main Street in particular,” Breimann said. “We are looking forward to potentially investing in multiple projects in Louisville in the coming years.”