Louisville Metro moving forward with Re:land Group to redevelop Rhodia property

October 13, 2020
Rhodia

Following a competitive process and community engagement opportunities, Louisville Metro Government has selected Louisville-based MBE Re:land Group to redevelop the Rhodia property in the Park Hill neighborhood.

The city-owned property is a 16.7-acre site, 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. West of the Rhodia site is the Louisville Metro Housing Authority’s 35-acre Parkway Place Apartments public housing complex.

“We are excited to work with Re:land Group on its ambitious vision, which looks beyond the Rhodia property to the potential of the entire Park Hill neighborhood. The Re:land Group and its diverse group of partners will bring much-needed housing and amenities to the area, enhancing the neighborhood, while giving neighbors a voice in the site design and addressing the potential for displacement,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

The proposal includes a mixed-used, mixed-income community with affordable, market-rate and student housing, offices, retail/café-like spaces, and green space with an urban park plaza as the centerpiece of the complex – all of which were among the desired uses listed by the community. It also incorporates strong potential amenities include a co-op grocery, day care, community land trust and a co-op wellness center.

The proposal seeks to complement and improve the area by incorporating sustainable and health-focused design, creating spaces where people can access public Wi-Fi, increasing mobility around the site.

“We appreciate the opportunity to do right by the people of Park Hill. This community-led development is all about what the people and businesses in Park Hill deserve,” said James Beckett, managing partner of Re:land Group. “Our vision is grounded in developments that are intentional about addressing the adverse and historical effects of systemic and institutional racism, redlining, economic disparities, under and unemployment, crime and safety, and gentrification. To that end, we look forward to starting this journey hand-in-hand with the Park Hill community.”

Louisville Metro will now establish a Project Advisory Group of nearby residents who will meet with the developer on a regular basis throughout planning and construction of the project. The group will represent neighborhood interests and act as a conduit for communication with the community throughout process. Residents interested in being part of the Project Advisory Group should contact Allison Smith, Community Engagement Strategist with Develop Louisville, at [email protected].

 “I’m very pleased to see this project moving forward.  The input from the community has been outstanding and will be critical as this project begins to take shape.  Thank you to Develop Louisville and Re:land Group for all of their hard work to make this a reality,” said Metro Council President David James, whose district includes Park Hill.

In January 2020, Louisville Metro Government held a public meeting to update residents on the conditions of the site and gather feedback about the types of development they'd like to see at the site. A Solicitation of Interest was published in late May, and Re:Land Group, along with co-developer Luckett & Farley, submitted the sole response.

On July 31, Re:Land Group hosted a virtual open house to present their plan to the public and answer questions. The development group also hosted an outdoor, socially distanced in-person open house at the Park Hill Community Center on Aug. 8.

From 1919 until the 1940s, the Rhodia 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. The property has been vacant since 1994.

The property is subject to an environmental covenant that includes restrictions on the property, including prohibiting consumption of groundwater from the site and disturbance of the cap on the property, which prevents toxins from leaching out of the ground.

Re:land Group understands both the complexity and the benefits of brownfields redevelopment as demonstrated by the development team's previous experience. The group will undertake further environmental investigation to ensure that remediation and mitigation of this former industrial facility is protective of both human health and the environment as the site plan is developed.

For more information about the Rhodia property and to view Re:land Group’s proposal, please visit www.louisvilleky.gov/government/advanced-planning-and-sustainability/rhodia.

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