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I am pretty amazed at Louisville's rise in the DI ranks. I thought that they'd go downhill after JLSmith left. They only got better and MSU only got worse! 

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Great for Louisville athletics.  Even though I wasn't impressed with the stadium when I went there.  Something about a stadium being located in a massive parking lot kinda sucks.  By the way, when was the last time anyone heard of anything coming out of the University of Louisville.  Talk about an athletics dominated university.  Maybe they should be spending some of the athletic money on the campus, which I find very underwhelming.

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Something about a stadium being located in a massive parking lot kinda sucks.

 

College football stadiums seem to be located on the old research farm or on a lot of open space.  I think that was the case with OSU and UofK stadiums.

 

UofL was located on the L&N Railroads South Louisville yards and shops.  So instead of an abandoned railroad yard there is acres of parking and a big stadium, though I wonder if that parking does double duty for Churchill Downs during the Derby as this stadium is pretty close.

 

 

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That entire area near Papa Johns is odd. The airport, UPS, football stadium, old baseball stadium, etc.  In some respects, Louisville really missed some opportunities.

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I love UrbanKentucky.com!

 

Louisville, Lexington, and , uh, Ashland?

 

Owenton!

 

Really, though, I was quite impressed with Frankfort, I'd like to learn more.

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well, i think the area is pretty cool...its like two blocks from churchill downs. during derby that area becomes hollywood.

 

That is one day of the year.  Smashed between a highway and an airport, that area is full of large things that get used only a couple of times per year.  Is the baseball stadium still in service? 

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What baseball stadium are you talking about?

 

UofL just built a brand new baseball stadium on campus, along it's athletics corridor.

 

If you're referring to old Cardinal Stadium that is owned by the Fair Grounds and is old and highly visible from I-65, the answer is no. It was never used by baseball anywaay, it was a football stadium.

 

That stadium is being torn down in either 07 or 08, with a large music venue, a la Verizon/Deer Creek in Indianapolis, taking it's place.

 

 

 

However, i have to say that hte UofL area was very sketchy only a few years ago, and even now that area still has a long way to go. With that being said, UofL has gone on an unprecidented building spree on campus and is investing heavily in the community around it. There are several loft conversions directly around campus, and abutting the the stadium parking lot they are building "sports condos" in an old pasta factory.

 

Would I call the UofL area nice? No, not yet really. But is it up and coming? Yeah, they're doing a ton of work in that area.

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what about that shopping plaza right across the street from PJCS? how is that doing? there isa new baseball stadium right next to the football stadium as well. and i know that area has seen a lot of immigrants lately. as far as the interstate goes, i don't think it really affects that area too much, i didn't notice it my first time at churchhill downs.

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Cardinal Stadium was used by a tripple A team back in the early 80s. 

 

That entire area near Papa Johns is odd. The airport, UPS, football stadium, old baseball stadium, etc.

 

You're talking about this area, and the area to the south, correct?

 

Spkwy5.jpg

 

I've always wondered about it myself.  It is a no-mans land of sort.  But maybe some investigation into some local urban geogrpahy & history could be interesting and a bit of fun here......

 

Lets start with old 19th century Louisville...the city in 1916, not showing the suburban growht too much outside of the city limits, you can see this town had grown mostly to the east and west, and somewhat to the south...a big Chicagoesque grid....

 

Spkwy7.jpg

 

Taking a closer look at the southern edge of town...The old "house of refuge" reform school, which was to become the UofL campus in the 1920s, and a collection of railroad mainlines, junctions, and transfer tracks sort of blocking off the area beyond.  Yet, beyond is the industrial suburb of South Louisville and the extensive (for 19th century Louisville) Kentucky Wagon Works (by 1917 they were making Dixie Flyer automobiles).  Confederate Monument shown for reference.  The area to the north, what is St James & Belegravia courts, was subdivided in the 1880s, I think.

 

SPII1.jpg

 

However, whats interesting is what was happening south of city.  South Louisville was one of two industrial suburbs, Highland Park further south was another, and then there was a collection of horse race tracks, somewhat close to the L&N mainline so trains with racehores could pull off on sidings close to the tracks.  Thats why Churchill Downs is where it is.

 

Also, in the late 1880s the mayor bought one of the outlying knobs for a park, and built a boulevard to connect it.  This was eventually wrapped into the "Olmstead" park system

 

SPII2.jpg

 

The new park and parkway became a draw for visitors, and streetcars where extended out to the new park and other local features of interest (Devils Backbone, or  Coxes Knob, had been a summer retreat since the 1870s).  Beer gardens and dance pavilions sprouted up at the end of the lines.

 

SPII3.jpg

 

And, the new car lines led to a real estate boom, forming Louisvilles' "South End" (Louisville has a East, West, and South End).

The boom also resulted in Churchill Downs becoming landlocked.

 

SPII4.jpg

 

But the South End was just one of a few fingers of development extending out along the radial highways leading into the city, usually seperated by creek bottoms and hilly country...by the WII era the subdivided and built up areas where extending well out of the old 19th century gridded city in the Ohio River bottoms.

 

The nearest extension of the built up area to the east was along Preston Highway, into the "wet woods", which is this real low and flat country that used to be seasonally flooded, sort of like a local Okeefenokee Swamp, but drained in the years before WWI.  This "crawdad country" is tinted bluish green in the map:

 

SPwky1.jpg

 

A close up of the area between Preston Highway and the South End, showing the limits of the built up area by the 1930s....

 

Spkwy6.jpg

 

...i think one reason this area wasn't built up was because it was somwhat isolated, not many roads, blocked off by railroad lines and yards and so forth, and probably pretty swampy further south.  So it was this dead land until after WWII.  It was always sort of an odd sort of no-mans land, which was developed into low density industry during the 50s & 60s. 

 

The big impact in this area, though, was during WWII when the airport was built.  The site for the airport was selected due to surveys during the 37 Flood showing this being flat country, close in, but not hit by the flood.  Louisville aready had an airport on the east end for commercial aviation, but it was getting small.  Before any action could be taken WWII intervened and the military snapped up this site for the Army Air Force...

 

..the map shows the original military runway configuration and the big aircraft factory.  The line of the wet woods lowlands..here called the Ash Bottom... and some other features, like a big indian mound called "Lone Hill", and original road configurations (Grade Lane was Lone Hill Road, and Crittenden Drive was Ash Bottom Road back in those days).

 

Spkwy9.jpg

 

 

One of the aerospace companies was Consolidated Vultee.  Perhaps aviation buffs can ID the model here?

 

Spkwy10.jpg

 

WWII era construction on the runway.  Notice how pancake flat the countryside is here, to the south....

 

Spkwy11.jpg

 

After the war, the airfield was turned over to the civilans (though the military still has a presence there), and the aircraft factory became this giant International Harvester plant.  The civilian terminal was located on the north side, built in the late 40s, around the same time the Watterson Expressway (US 60 Bypass) was built.  Kentucky Turnpike (later I-65) finished in '56. around the same time the Kentucky State Fairgrounds relocated to the north of the airport, buying up alot of that dead land west of Preston Higway and the Southern RR main to Lexington.

 

Also during the 50s & 60s the runways where extended for jet travel, obliterating Lone Hill, and the big Ford Plant was built south of the airport.

 

Spklwy12.jpg

 

By the early 1970s the airport was recognized as inadequate, being too hemmed in by ubanization.  A big search went on for alternative sites, and one well to the east of Louisville, near Finchville in Shelby County, was chosen.  The idea was to build a state of the art airport (like DFW or Heartsfield), with multiple terminals, people movers, etc.  This attempt to postiion Louisville for the post-CAB era of hub-and-spoke air travel failed due to big NIMBY opposition. 

 

So that is how Louisville missed out on becoming a big hub airport.

 

What did happend was the UPS hub, and the later expansion of the airport via the two big parallell runways and the UPS complex between them.  This was a do-or-die thing, which meant some hardball tactics with the surrounding neighborhoods, some of which where totally bulldozed and removed.

 

For some pix of that check out:

 

Highland Park I

 

&

 

Highland Park II

 

Other neighborhoods well to the south in the former "wet woods", but in the flight path, where also removed.  I drove through those once, erie seeing the abandoned houses boarded up, ghost subdivisions of ranches and split levels.

 

 

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

 

Sort of a digression there...the area around Churchill Downs has been drastically altered via that big highway they built (including a bridge) that is clearly visible on the aeriel photos.

 

What this meant was the demolition of the 4th & Central neighborhood buisiness district right outside of the Churchill Downs gate. This place used to be where, the night before the race, the real racing junkys gathered..the gamblers, race fans, grooms, stable boys, industry types, for sort of a big street party.  This was more the 'industry/racing fan party', vs the Infield or the Grandstands, which was the race fans for one day a year for the Derby.  It was a bit more scruffy than the main event events.

 

But that setting is all gone now.  And they built this very cheesy shopping center near where that highway crosses the L&N mainline to Papa Johns Stadium.  This would have been a primo candidate for new-urbanist development. 

 

What is this area like, around Churchill downs?  Well, it used to be working class white.  Think Upper Price Hill or East Dayton/Belmont.  Lately, in the areas to the North of the Downs, that old South Louisville neighborhood, Ive been noticing it becoming more black than it used to.  The area also gets some UofL students, but its not a real student neighborhood.  And also some foreigners, as the catholic church in the neighborhood does some work with refugee resettlement.  I recall when I was in Lousiville they had Hmong living near the church, and the church would sell their crafts in a parish bazaar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UPDATED: 2:14 PM

RiverPark Place work about to begin

By Sheldon S. Shafer

sshafer@courier-journal.com

The Courier-Journal

 

Ground will be broken March 2 for the $200 million RiverPark Place between River Road and the Ohio River near Towhead Island.

 

The Army Corps of Engineers recently approved a permit for the project just upriver from Waterfront Park.

 

...

 

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070222/BUSINESS/70222047

 

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Before

30785496.jpg

 

After

ironMainStreetlg.jpg

ironWashStreetlg.jpg

 

Todd Blue plans $50 million retail, office project on West Main Street

Business First of Louisville

 

In the early 1900s, the 100 block of West Main Street was home to distillers and wholesalers and earned the moniker Whiskey Row.

 

More than 100 years later, the block -- now mostly derelict -- is about to be redeveloped as a mixed-use project with retail and restaurant space, offices and a parking garage.

 

More at http://www.louisvilleky.gov

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I don't particularily like the idea of building about the buildings, but I'm very pleased to see something is going to happen with them. They are beauties, and their location is excellent. Hopefully this will have some spill over across the street.

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Where's the new tower? I see that they are proposing adding 7 stories to the old buildings (are they really going to let them do that??), but I don't see the tower.

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Sounds like a decent project to me, but I didn't know that Louisville had this attraction to ultra-modern architecture.  Its just good to hear that this will save these old bldgs from potential decay/eventual wrecking ball.

 

But I agree with 3231...I don't see a new tower, nor is it that MAJOR of a project.  A cool project nonetheless, but don't turn this into another Louisville against the world thread please!

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While we all might have different interpetations of what "major" or "tower" would be defined as, I'd easily equate this to, say, 5th and Vine in Cincinnati. Presently a major embarrasment to the city, and located in a prominent location, both projects are finally going to see investment and contribute to the improved health of downtown, although the skyline isn't going to be affected.

 

A few pics from this summer of the buildings:

100_5790.jpg

 

100_5791.jpg

 

100_5792.jpg

 

100_5794.jpg

 

100_5795.jpg

 

100_5802.jpg

 

100_5803.jpg

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Louisville seems to be taking a very risky approach to their downtown development.  Instead of playing it safe with standard developments they are building the "Jenga" tower and this crazy looking growth on top of some nice old school buildings.  I give them credit for being bold, but hopefully the reward is as high as the risk.

 

 

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Louisville seems to be taking a very risky approach to their downtown development.  Instead of playing it safe with standard developments they are building the "Jenga" tower and this crazy looking growth on top of some nice old school buildings.  I give them credit for being bold, but hopefully the reward is as high as the risk.

 

Well said!

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looks like what the warehouse district used to look like here in cleveland

 

Good call because that is what it was.  That Main Street strip was a long strip of warehouses and wholesale operations with a few distilleries thrown in, geared to the river trade, and later to the railroads as there was a big freight depot down the street.  The central part of it was destroyed for urban renewal, leaving a West Main portion, near where the Museum Plaza is going, and this surviving bit on East Main.

 

While the Main street facades are excellent in their own right as period commercial architecture, the back of those buildings, facing Washington Street, was the funky part.

 

Washington was really an alley, between Main and the River, and across the street from these was a massive tall loft warehouse buildings belonging to the Belknap company which continued over towards the main Belknaps complex to the east. 

 

 

So the feel, walking down Washington, was this gritty dirty-brick urban canyon feel, very shadowy and noir.  The area developed, in the 1970s, as sort of nightclub distirct, which continued a bit into the 80s...I went to a few of those places.."Citylights", which was a hard rock bar, and "Farnsleys' Cocksure,", owned by the son of a former mayor) .  There was hopes that this would be Louisville's "underground Atlanta", but Washington Street never fulfilled that promise.

 

Eventually the big loft warehouses across from Washington was torn down and the feel of this part of town drastically changed, became much "lighter" and not so dark-gritty.  The nightclubs on this block evenually closed down, and the place is now vacant.  Since this is developing into a hot corridor downtown I guess it was a matter of time before a redevelopment was proposed.

 

That little high rise is really out of character with the old facades, but by itself I like it and the way they don't lay in a slick generic curtain wall, there is more articulation of the facade with this design.

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It is a great approach. It is always difficult to reproduce something historic. What this one appears to do is preserve the history, instill something ultra-modern, but at the same time the new structure will have a secondary appearance. It won't dominate the existing history. Louisville overall has done a nice job with its new buildings in an old town, and this is no exception.

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Historic facade moving again

 

Key --

1. The stone and brick facade of the historic Heigold House (which has inscriptions that date to the Civil War), is being moved from the RiverPark Place property to Frankfort Avenue.

1a. It will be moved to a temporary site, then will be placed in the median of a four-lane Frankfort Avenue -- serving as a gateway into Butchertown.

2. The building is a 70,000 lb. structure that is 26 ft. high and 35 ft. wide. It will be moved next week, then to Frankfort Avenue by early summer.

 

Article information: "Historic facade moving again, It will be entry to Butchertown; By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, Friday, March 30, 2007"

 

--

 

The stone and brick facade of the historic Heigold House, which has inscriptions dating to the Civil War, is being moved from the riverfront to a spot on nearby Frankfort Avenue.

 

Edwards Moving & Rigging of Simpsonville has begun preparations to move the 70,000-pound structure that is 26 feet high and 35 feet wide. It probably will be moved next week to a temporary spot and then to a permanent site on Frankfort by early summer, officials said.

 

...

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Note: Could the title of the thread be changed to Louisville RiverPark Place to reflect the project's name?

 

Louisville sues to block church's claim to land

 

Personal note: Why did the church wait this long when the project has been known and alive for years? It seems as if they want the money... at a time when they really need it.

 

Key --

1. Louisville has filed a lawsuit to block any claim by the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky. The Diocese has claimed two small parcels at two acres in the center of the 38-acre $200 million RiverPark Place development.

2. The claim of ownership won't disrupt the residential and office development, stated The Poe Cos. -- the developers -- who also noted that they are proceeding with construction.

2a. The affected parcels include a planned five-story residental tower (64 residences) and a planned second phase of development.

2b. The state widened River Road through a portion of the second parcel without any question about 'ownership'.

3. The parcels were donated by the family of S. Thurston Ballard in 1919 and 1925 as part of Thruston Park -- under the condition that if the land ceased to be used as a park, playground or for recreation, it would revert to the diocese.

3a. However, under an agreement with the Poe Cos., the city promised to provide land for RiverPark Place.

4. Negotions between the city and the diocese broke off last week. When the discussions failed, the city filed the lawsuit seeking to clear the title off the two parcels and conclude with a ruling that the diocese had no claim to them.

4a. The city states that any claim to the land lapsed long ago and that any such property rights cannot endure indefinately.

4b. The lawsuit also states that the land is prone to flooding and that other property at RiverPark Place has been designated open space and park land for public use.

4c. The diocese has stated 'our parishes have unmet needs which the Ballards' gift could help serve'. My note: Why did they not do anything with the land for the preceding 60+ years?

4d. The diocese is willing to negotiate for a 'fair price'.

 

Article information: "Louisville sues to block church's claim to land, By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, Thursday, April 19, 2007"

 

--

 

Louisville has filed suit in an attempt to block any claim by the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky to two small parcels at the site of the $200 million RiverPark Place development.

 

The church's claim of an ownership interest in the two tracts along River Road east of downtown won't disrupt the residential and office project, Mike Miller, chief financial officer of The Poe Cos., the developer, said yesterday. "We are proceeding with construction."

 

...

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Let's do some catching up! Originally posted on March 8, 2007 at UrbanPlanet:

 

Arena report urges energy-saving features, Agency's guidelines call for a transparent facade

 

The article also has a fly-by animation!

 

Key --

1. Avoid large, blank walls

2. Public art should be included

3. Main Street facade should be transparent

4. Incorporate "green," or energy-saving elements, in the design

5. Provide year-round uses inside the building

 

Article information: "Arena report urges energy-saving features, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, Thursday, March 8, 2007"

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First look inside the arena

Interior rendering

 

Key --

1. The architect released the design for the interior April 23. In it, he promised more comfortable seating and better sightlines than what is currently available at Freedom Hall.

1a. The number of seats will increase from 19,000 to 22,000.

2. 11,348 seats will be in the lower bowl; Freedom Hall, where UofL basketball teams currently play, has 7,124 seats in the lower level. The seats themselves will also be larger, increasing from 19 to 20 inches.

3. A sports bar will be located on the main concourse, which will have views of the Ohio River and will be open year-round.

3a. There will be a public plaza and concourse off of Main Street.

3b. There will also be 72 suites located on two levels between the main and upper concourses and will be twice as big as those in Freedom Hall.

4. The $252 million arena will be open by fall 2010 and be located at Second and Main Streets. This is part of a $450 million project that will include a 975-car parking structure, hotel and floodwall.

4a. It will house the UofL men and women basketball teams.

 

Article information: "First look inside the arena, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, Tuesday, April 24, 2007"

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Hotel removed from arena plan

 

Notes --

1. A 425-room hotel for the riverfront arena, which was envisioned as one way to pay off the project, has been deleted. The reasons include,

1a. Other revenues to cover the $252 million construction cost are projected to be higher than expected.

1b. A hotel would have taken away land from a public plaza on Main Street.

1c. The hotel was expected to contribute $1.3 million in lease payments. But other sources of revenue will cover the $573 million in total debt over 30 years on an expected $339 million bond issue for the arena. These sources include --

1ci. $265 million from a tax-increment financing district,

1cii. The city's pledge of $206 million minimum,

1ciii. $179 million from interior advertising,

1civ. $84 million facility fee,

1cv. $63 million in luxury suite revenues, and

1cvi. $37 million in building naming rights.

1d. Originally, the Kentucky Finance Cabinet projected $211 million in new tax revenues in 2005. A more recent survey that was "more complete" was finished recently and the projected revenue jumped to $265 million.

2. The Louisville Arena Authority voted unanimously to remove the hotel at its monthly meeting on May 21 (Monday). The removal of the plaza allows for a wider Main Street plaza and allows for new features, such as a Washington Street entrance. It also allows for more design flexibility. The plaza, for instance, is now large enough that after-hour concerts and other events could be held.

3. Hotel operators (Greater Louisville Hotel & Lodging Association) also supported the measure, stating that downtown Louisville has enough rooms. The arena hotel and a planned Westin Hotel at Museum Plaza would have added 675 rooms by 2010. Now, only 570 rooms are planned for 2010, including 250 at Museum Plaza.

4. U of L's basketball teams would be the main tenants of the arena, but the 22,000-seat structure is designed for other uses, including conventions, ice shows, and collegiate sports championships.

5. The arena, which would have lost $123,000 a year originally, might turn a small profit.

5a. The arena will make $9.2 million a year in rent, merchandise, concessions and other revenues; this includes a $2 ticket tax on every U of L men's basketball games during its first 30 years.

5b. It is expected to spend just under $9 million a year. The annual profit would be $196,000.

The revised financial projections estimate the arena will turn a slim profit from operations -- a change from last year's estimate that it would lose about $123,000 a year.

6. The driving change behind the arena operating expenses is the reimbursement fee that the Arena Authority must pay to the Kentucky State Fair Board for the arena's impact on Freedom Hall. The decrease in revenues, from $1.3 million to $738,000 during the first 10 years of the new arena, is a result of revision taking into account lesser number of events for Freedom Hall.

6a. With U of L gone as a main tenant, several minor league hockey teams have taken interest in calling Freedom Hall home.

 

Article information: "Hotel removed from arena plan, By Marcus Green, Courier-Journal [Louisville], May 22, 2007"

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