Last week, officials celebrated the topping off of the University of Louisville’s Nucleus building on the corner of Market and Floyd streets and announced a partnership with Bernheim Arboretum to design a new green roof featuring native plants. The eight-story, $18 million building designed by local architects Arrasmith, Judd, Rapp, Chovan broke ground in July 2011 and is expected to open in May 2013, pushed back from its initial projection of late 2012.
Nucleus is a subsidiary of the University of Louisville Foundation charged with developing a nine-acre research park in Downtown Louisville on the so-called Haymarket property roughly bounded by Market, Preston, Brook, and Jefferson streets. Nucleus president and CEO Vicki Yates Brown said seven tenants have signed letters of intent and several others have expressed interest in space at the new building, a claim featured in a glowing New York Times piece on the project (which starts out with a whopper of a an error in the very first sentence) but questioned by some.
The 200,000 square-foot building is the first in a series of structures at the Nucleus Research Park, which eventually could include a twin to the building under construction on Market Street and two 15-story towers on Jefferson Street. The university said future projects will depend on market demand.
Nucleus is being partly funded by a tax increment financing (TIF) district covering 210 acres in the adjacent Medical Center, which will allow a portion of new taxes generated in the district to go toward Nucleus. The district was activated at the end of 2011 and officials then estimated the project could garner $1.3 million in the first year. That number is expected to rise over the duration of the 30-year TIF district.