Urban Government Center
Following a competitive process, community feedback, and a committee-based evaluation, Louisville Metro Government announced on November 16, 2020 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 220.127.116.11 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.
The effort to redevelop the Urban Government Center site featured an extensive community engagement process starting in 2016 that included multiple public meetings to hear the concerns and values of people from Paristown Pointe and area neighborhoods.
Click here to read the public comments submitted on the redevelopment of the Urban Government Center.
Louisville Metro Government solicited proposals from developers in 2017 with the goal of attracting a new mixed-use, mixed-income development at the site.
Five development groups submitted proposals, which were reviewed and scored by a panel of Louisville Metro staff and members of the community. In the evaluation panel, Lizabeth Calenberg, Mary Hardesty, Debbie Hoblitzell and Chuck Woodall represented the community and Deborah Bilitski (former Director of Develop Louisville), Gabe Fritz (former Director of Housing & Community Development), Daniel Frockt (Chief Financial Officer), Gretchen Milliken (Director of Advanced Planning) and Allison Smith (Brownfields Program Manager) represented LMG.
Solicitation of Interest responses
Presentations from April 17 public meeting
Click here to view the live stream video of the April 17 public meeting.
Click here to view the comments provided by the public at the April 17 public meeting.
Ultimately, The Marian Group was selected in December 2017 after receiving the highest score. The city signed a preliminary development agreement with The Marian Group in July 2018.
Once The Marian Group had completed all necessary work to begin the transformation of 814 Vine St. and Louisville Metro issued a notice of termination to Paristown Preservation Trust and the Kentucky Center, Louisville Metro was faced with the threat of litigation. In July 2019, a settlement agreement between Louisville Metro, The Marian Group, Paristown Preservation Trust, and the Kentucky Center was reached.
Click here for timeline of Urban Government Center redevelopment.
Click here for Metro Council resolution approving the settlement agreement.
Following The Marian Group's decision to terminate its development agreement with Louisville Metro Government in December 2019, Louisville Forward hosted a public meeting Jan. 28, 2020 to update residents on the current status of the Urban Government Center property and gather additional input to guide future redevelopment of the site. All of the information presented at the meeting, as well as results from surveys and activities, can be found at the links below.
At the public meeting, there was significant discussion surrounding slide (page) number 25, which provided an overview of projected costs for adaptive reuse of the main hospital building versus new construction. The new construction cost did not include a demolition cost, which some may have interpreted as an assertion that demolition and new construction would be cheaper than adaptive reuse. Metro believes that with the addition of demolition expenses, the cost of the two approaches would be substantially similar. Metro has updated that slide for clarity, and plans to solicit demolition bids for a more complete comparison.
In an effort to ensure that the redevelopment of the site meets the needs and desires of the community, Louisville Metro's Office of Advanced Planning conducted several design workshops in August 2016. Multiple exercises were utilized during the workshops aimed at soliciting citizen-based ideas for the future of the site.
Attendees discussed elements of the site and surrounding areas that they would like to Preserve, Remove, Add, and Keep Out.
Attendees were asked how the site should be repurposed to achieve the over-arching goals of Connectivity, Identity, Creativity, Energy, Health, and Living.
- How can the site improve Connectivity
- How can the site enhance a unique sense of Identity
- How can the site foster Creativity
- How can the site utilize modern sources of Energy
- How can the site improve citizens Health
- How can the site provide multiple options for Living
Louisville Metro worked with architecture students from the University of Kentucky's College of Design to disseminate the ideas presented at the workshop into a conceptual proposal for the site. This proposal was presented to the public in a series of meetings in October 2016. Louisville Metro staff will now take the feedback from these workshops to continue to develop a concept that will eventually serve as the framework for the future redevelopment of the site. This framework will be presented to the public before any final determination of site redevelopment.
During the week of December 12, 2016 Louisville Metro Government took measures to keep the Urban Government Center on Barret Avenue and Louisville Metro Housing Authority-owned building on Vine Street safe and secure while the visioning process for the property continues.
At the request of the neighborhood, the driveway that connects Vine Street to Barret Avenue will remain open and the parking lot at the southeast corner of the property will remain accessible to support local businesses. Access also will be maintained to 768 Vine Street.