ShelbyHurst-BirdsEyeRenderReal estate developers going to the city to discuss issues with U of L

Though no one has yet agreed to go on the record, we’ve had dozens of background conversations with private-sector developers who are furious they have to compete with the University of Louisville Development Co., U of L’s real estate development arm.

This controversy – brewing for months, if not years – is about to become part of the public conversation. Those sources say after months of fuming as they watch U of L  develop more than 350,000 square feet of spec office space in three buildings at ShelbyHurst, several developers are going to the city’s new economic-development cabinet, Louisville Forward, to complain. City officials did not return calls and emails for comment.

The developers have interconnected issues related to trying to compete in the office sector with a tax-exempt university and its $1 billion foundation.

Those issues extend to the state granting U of L a tax increment financing district for ShelbyHurst. TIF districts were always meant to rejuvenate blighted areas, which by some definition included the blocks around where KFC Yum! Center is today. Before the arena was built, the blocks east on Main were mostly empty.

That was never the case with the North Hurstbourne Parkway area, which has some of the most expensive commercial real estate, and office lease rates, in the city.

The meeting comes as U of L announces its foundation is acquiring another block for Nucleus, which recently lured nursing-home giant Atria out of the Brown and Williamson Tower at Fourth and Liberty.

The foundation has purchased 250-252 E. Market at Floyd Street. We’re trying to figure out which nursing home companies need a new space at what was always touted as a bio-tech research campus.

In a partnership with the foundation, U of L Development plans to build more than 1.5 million square feet of office space at ShelbyHurst over the next few years, space to be leased by NTS Development Co. With the current low office space absorption rate, that means commercial developers are – at least in the Class A office sector – relegated to fee-based deals for bigger national companies … until the end of time.

imagesPortland lands its first LEED certified architecture firm

Remember how fast NuLu came together? The Green Building opening, then Please & Thank You, Rellek, Scout and Red Tree all coalescing into an entertainment and retail corridor along East Market? Well, Portland seems to be happening even faster.

Sources are telling us WorK Architecture + Design, a firm with an impressive pedigree, is headed for 19th Street in Portland from St. Matthews. WorK follows hard on the heels of a number of other companies, galleries and restaurants who are already in Portland, or who have pledged to start operations there, including Tim Faulkner Gallery, Gelato Gilberto and Please & Thank You. But this is a development more on the level of ARGO Networks … a redefining moment.

More on this as soon was we can talk with WorK Architecture principals.