City taking next step toward transforming former Rhodia site into a community-led mixed-use development
Standing on the former Rhodia site with members of the Park Hill/Algonquin Community of Opportunity Advisory Board and developer Re:land Group, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg announced that next steps toward revisioning the long-vacant brownfield property as a community-led mixed-use development will get underway soon.
In 2022, Metro Council approved the allocation of $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to pay for environmental remediation at the Rhodia site, 1495 S. 11th St. Louisville Metro Government issued two requests for proposals related to this work: St. Louis-based O6 Environmental was chosen to remediate soil contamination at the site, and EnviroForensics was chosen to oversee the removal of contaminated soil.
“We are excited to finally move forward on the cleanup of this site. The resulting redevelopment project will serve as a cornerstone for much-needed future development in the Park Hill and Algonquin neighborhoods to improve quality of life for area residents and build up neighborhoods that have long been neglected,” said Mayor Greenberg. “Thank you to the members of the Opportunity Advisory Board for their hard work to ensure this project meets the needs and desires of the community and to Re:land Group for putting community first throughout this process.”
Completing the remediation work is the next step before the property can be redeveloped. In late 2020, Louisville Metro Government selected Re:land Group, an MBE Louisville-based social and civic impact development group to redevelop the former Rhodia site. The Park Hill/Algonquin Community of Opportunity Advisory Board was then established in June 2022 by Re:land Group to ensure that a community-led process was put in place to understand and inform the cultural, social and economic needs of the neighborhoods and to create a much larger movement addressing quality of life imperatives beyond the 17-acre site.
An advisory board made up of residents and key stakeholders have been meeting monthly in Park Hill for over a year and have been lead by health equity specialist Dr. Brandy Kelly Pryor with BKP Strategies alongside Hester Street, a New York-based urban planning, design and community development nonprofit. A set of values were put in place at the onset to inform the overall development process. Those values included meaningful intergenerational engagement, championing anti-racism, ensuring long-term neighborhood stability and financial viability, promoting resilient and sustainable development, and building power in community by compensating advisory board members in the decision-making process for the design and programming of the development.
“From leadership to ownership - the Park Hill/Algonquin Community of Opportunity Advisory Board is a collective body of concerned residents who have joined together in unity based on three “T’s”- truth, trust and transformation,” stated Kathleen Parks on behalf of the Park Hill/Algonquin Community of Opportunity Advisory Board leadership.
“We are finally going to eradicate an environmental injustice that has been allowed to sit for decades within a community of people who are prohibited from meeting their fullest potential,” said Jim Beckett, Managing Partner of Re:land Group. “Unfortunately, this addresses only a fraction of the social, economic and environmental injustices that affect these neighborhoods. The 17-acre transformation is just the beginning as Re:land believes Park Hill and Algonquin deserve the best of everything and for that to happen we must invest equitably into all quality of life and economic development needs.”
The community key development areas identified include employment, economic opportunities, health and wellbeing, housing, education, community empowerment, services and amenities. The next phase of the community-led process will inform a master site plan for the 17-acres aimed at restoring the land into a culturally rich, socially just, environmentally restorative ‘live, work, and play’ destination. The master site planning process began in May 2023 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The city-owned property is bound by South Seventh Street, South 11th Street, Hill Street and the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks, and is named for former tenant Rhodia, a chemical manufacturing company. From 1919 until the 1940s, the property was home to Dabney Jones Company, which made lacquers, varnishes, and enamels at the site. It later housed operations for manufacturing epoxy-based coatings and then water-based epoxies and acrylics. It has sat vacant since 1994.
The property is subject to an environmental covenant that includes restrictions on the property such as prohibiting consumption of groundwater from the site and disturbance of the cap on the property, which prevents toxins from leaching out of the ground.
For more information, visit www.louisvilleky.gov/government/advanced-planning/rhodia.
About Re:land Group
Re:land is an MBE social and civic impact developer creating transformative neighborhood-led projects fusing community ownership, quality of life and economic development together. Re:land leverages its political and social capital to bridge the public, private and philanthropic sectors around a vision that mitigates investment risk and encourages active participation to ensure needed outcomes.
About Office of Advanced Planning
The Office of Advanced Planning envisions, designs, and implements long-range planning solutions to create a vibrant community where people want to live, work, and innovate. Our strategic, long- and short-term planning initiatives give voice to neighbors, prepare the city for its future transportation needs, and work collaboratively across departments to plan for future growth, development, and investment across Louisville Metro. For more information: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/advanced-planning