Urban Government Center
Louisville Metro Government has ended negotiations with Underhill Associates for the redevelopment of the Urban Government Center on Barret Avenue as of August 18, 2021.
The decision was made after Underhill Associates failed to identify private sources of funds to fill a nearly $13.7 million estimated budget gap for its proposal. The city had offered to provide the Metro-owned land for $1 and use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help fill a portion of the project’s gap.
Louisville Metro will now exercise its right to negotiate an agreement with the runner-up, Paristown Preservation Trust.
The city will offer to enter into limited negotiations with the development group within the same scope, meaning that, as a term of the negotiations, Louisville Metro will consider a TIF agreement, but it will not entertain requests for a direct subsidy, infrastructure investments or funds to cover environmental remediation costs or the purchase of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority property. As stated in the Solicitation of Interest issued in June 2020, the developer is responsible for environmental cleanup costs and buying the LMHA property at fair market value.
On November 16, 2020, following a competitive process, community feedback, and a committee-based evaluation, Louisville Metro Government that it will enter negotiations towards a development agreement with Louisville-based Underhill Associates.
With a score of 84.5 out of 110, Underhill Associates’ proposal emerged as the highest scoring response. A five-person selection committee, made up of Louisville Metro employees, noted that Underhill Associates' proposal is more reflective of community input and addresses potential gentrification and displacement. Throughout the community feedback process, residents have consistently expressed a desire for a mixed-use development at the site.
The committee noted that the Underhill Associates response requests a significant financial investment, $12 million, from Louisville Metro to complete the redevelopment. As part of the negotiations, Louisville Metro will work with Underhill Associates to identify potential ways to close the funding gap. If Louisville Metro and Underhill Associates are unable to negotiate a development agreement, the city reserves the right to negotiate an agreement with the runner-up or issue a new Soliciation of Interest.
Project Advisory Group
The Project Advisory Group will help advise Louisville Metro and represent their neighborhood’s interests to the selected developer. This group will be a conduit for communication with the community throughout the development and construction process. The selected developer will be required to meet with and have regular communications with the Project Advisory Group. All group meetings will be posted and open to the public.
Five individuals have been selected by their neighborhood associations to represent and serve as a liaison between their neighborhoods and the developer:
- Tony Manning, Smoketown
- Doug Magee, Phoenix Hill
- Richard Hinton, Paristown Pointe
- Eric Baldwin, Germantown / Paristown
- Nate Knopf, Original Highlands
Per the Solicitation of Interest, a Project Advisory Group has been formed and comprises no fewer than five residents, with equal representation from the Paristown Pointe, Original Highlands, German-Paristown, Smoketown, and Phoenix Hill neighborhoods. Project Advisory Group participant’s primary residence must be in the above listed neighborhoods, and individuals must be able to sign Metro’s conflict of interest form declaring they have no conflict of interest, including existing relationships or current employment with any developer / proposal respondent.
Louisville Metro hosted three meetings where Paristown Preservation Trust and Underhill Associates presented their plans for redeveloping the Urban Government Center to the community, answer questions and listen to feedback.
The first virtual meeting featuring the Underhill Associates was held Thursday, August 20 at 10 a.m. Watch a replay of the meeting here: https://www.facebook.com/DevelopLouisville/videos/1031941147256288/
The second virtual meeting featuring Paristown Preservation Trust was held Friday, August 21 at 10 a.m. Watch a replay of the meeting here: https://www.facebook.com/DevelopLouisville/videos/695974247654319/
An in-person, socially distanced open house was also held at the Urban Government Center site, 810 Barret Ave. on August 22.
Solicitation of Interest
On June 4, Louisville Metro Louisville issued a Solicitation of Interest, and developers had until July 8 to submit the proposals, which can be viewed below. Read the Solicitation of Interest HERE.
Page 12 of the RFP, Section 6 “Submittal Requirements,” part 4 of Project Description titled “Community Benefits,” subsection b says in part “Project reflects that it considered the community feedback gathered during solicitation of interest process in 2017….as well as any subsequent public meetings.”
Given that there were public meetings held after the initial submittal deadline, it was appropriate and allowed under Section 22.214.171.124 of the RFP to offer an opportunity for responding developers to provide an addendum to ensure their projects reflect the community feedback from all meetings. It was optional and not a requirement. Below is the addendum provided by Paristown Preservation Trust.
The Vine Street Commons Housing, which is listed in Paristown Preservation Trust’s addendum, is outside the scope of the SOI and therefore will not be considered in the evaluation process. However, we have provided the information here given questions from the community about that aspect of Paristown Preservation Trust’s presentation.
About the Urban Government Center
The Urban Government Center is a nearly 10-acre site consisting of four buildings that have served as government offices for the last several decades. 810 Barret, the most prominent of the buildings on site, is a 7-story structure constructed in 1924 as the Kentucky Baptist Hospital; annexes were added to the building at later dates to form an entrance area and elevator shaft. The remainder of the site consists of a 4-story building constructed in 1940 as housing for nursing students, a 3-story structure erected in the mid- to late-1990’s that housed offices for Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District, and a small steam plant featuring a smokestack constructed with the original Kentucky Baptist Hospital.
Numerous enviromental reviews were conducted to assess the state of the buildings and estimate remediation costs.
Click here for cost estimates for remediation of the Urban Government Center buildings.