Mid City Mall Study A Great Success

Imagining a future Mid City Mall
Imagining a future Mid City Mall

Thanks to everyone who attended the Mid City Mall Brief Urban Design Area Study (BUDAS) on Saturday! The event was co-sponsored by Broken Sidewalk and the Urban Design Studio and set out to imagine the future potential of the massive Bardstown Road property.

While we’re compiling a full report on the findings of the first BUDAS event, here are a few of the highlights from Saturday. Thanks to Patrick Piuma of the Urban Design Studio and Kelby Price for providing the photos!

We started the morning with a walk through the Mid City Mall and its surrounding neighborhoods to evaluate the site’s current conditions. We learned that the original two-story, brick orphanage built in 1902 sat even farther off the road than the mall behind a large swath of grass and trees. Participants noted the sometimes drastic elevational changes that later informed ideas about sustainable rainwater management and we one participant told us about a small creek that once ran through the property that has since been buried.

After the walking tour, we reconvened Downtown at the Urban Design Studio where we identified some major goals to study. We split into groups around large maps of the area and began to sketch. Ideas for the site ranged from minimal interventions, to phased plans that could be implemented over time, to a complete removal of the mall in favor of a European-inspired pedestrian project.

Major trends common in many of the proposals include a mixed-use urban edge along Bardstown Road with retail at sidewalk level and offices or apartments above. Public plazas for active and passive gathering were popular at either Bardstown Road or Baxter Avenue, and many proposals called for keeping much or all of the existing mall with either a pedestrian arcade or narrow “main street” running through the center.

We’ll have the proposals and all the details in the full report soon and I’ll post the findings here. Thanks again to everyone who stopped by and offered input!

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden is a writer and architectural designer living in Brooklyn. After graduating from the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Branden practiced architecture in Louisville where he worked on several large LEED Certified buildings. Branden is the senior web editor at The Architect’s Newspaper, where he covers architecture, design, and urbanism. He has also written about design for Designers & Books, sustainability for Inhabitat, and architecture for the American Institute of Architects. He founded Broken Sidewalk in 2007, an online collaborative promoting architecture and urbanism in Louisville, Kentucky and the Midwest.


  1. Pardon my total lapse in remembering that specific site prior to the development of Mid City Mall (other than perhaps the nearby funeral home), but what orphanage once occupied that land? The original St. Thomas/St. Vincent? How did the Frank & Sandy Metts acquire the property?

  2. It’s too bad that this website only posts new material 1-2x/month. As evidenced by commentary, Louisvillians are desperate to read & discuss news and it is supremely disappointing that BrokenSidewalk is so lackluster.

  3. He posts pretty frequently at http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/
    It’s not louisville but still interesting. I do wish there was some discussion of the transit mall location (I think it was suggested that it be located south of the Aegon building?). I guess that is what the very underutilized forums are for.

  4. See story “area drains” on Badwaterjournal.

    Mid City Mall needs green infrastructure projects to capture and detain storm water and remove it from the combined sewer system. See the sewer line map showing where Mid-City stormwater overflows.

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