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The West Louisville FoodPort took a major step forward on Wednesday with the official signing of a development agreement between Metro Louisville, which provided the land for the project for one dollar, and Seed Capital KY, the developer of the FoodPort.

With the development agreement signed, the $56 million FoodPort project can move forward with construction. The project is located on a 24-acre site at 30th Street between Market Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

The site previously housed a collection of large brick warehouses on its southern end, but was cleared by the city in hopes of luring a manufacturer to the property. After years with no movement, the FoodPort is set to rejuvenate the barren fields in the Russell neighborhood with food production, distribution, processing, and more.

“This will be a one-stop place where consumers and food producers can meet,” Fischer said in a press release. “It’s a green, job-creation project.”

The FoodPort’s first phase is budgeted at $31 million. Seed Capital has already invested some $2.7 million on site design and environmental work—the project is being designed by the New York office of international architecture firm OMA. The first phase cost includes that investment and the price of the land, valued at $1.57 million, according to the city’s press release.

The first phase includes the $23.5 million indoor vertical farm, to be operated by Chicago-based FarmedHere. That facility, announced in January, will grow and process fresh produce year round in a controlled environment.

Metro Louisville is also contributing $350,000 for new sidewalks around the project site.

“The public/private/nonprofit partnership that makes this project possible is a model for the kind of collaboration that enables innovation and transformation beyond what would be possible through stand-alone efforts,” Caroline Heine, project director and co-founder at Seed Capital, said in a statement.

Once complete, the FoodPort is projected to generate 200 permanent jobs, with businesses moving in during phase one adding an additional 60 jobs. Seed Capital is working with the Louisville Urban League on strategies to hire workers from the surrounding neighborhoods—the site is located near the confluence of Russell, Portland, and Shawnee. A job fair is planned on April 26 from 1:00–3:00p.m. at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

“By creating opportunities for hundreds of new jobs for area residents, entrepreneurs, and community ownership, the FoodPort will help build a sustainable economy that will spur further investment and opportunities for wealth creation in west Louisville,” District 5 Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton said in a statement.

A community council comprised of 100 people from Russell and the larger community was convened by Seed Capital in January 2015. That body meets regularly to discuss the project and how it can have the strongest impact in the neighborhood.

Construction is required to begin by the end of this year, according to the development agreement, but Seed Capital said it expects a groundbreaking by October. The agreement also stipulates that the first phase must be complete by September 2017 or the land reverts back to Metro Louisville. The entire FoodPort is expected to be complete in May 2018.

 

You can read the full development agreement here.

[Top image of the West Louisville FoodPort courtesy OMA.]

 

 

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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

5 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s be fair….answer’s please
    Why has this project’s renderings changed 4 times since it’s original in September of 2014, then August 2015, where it was approved and now twice this month? There is constant change from the project value, renderings, etc. Why does the value continue to change, but end up being less buildings and less attractive? This is why I remain so skeptical. I watched a Metro Council meeting where questions came up about this project and one of the council members said an agreement was already completed, then this document appears after the fact. The fact was, there was no agreement when the council person was asked. West Louisville does not need another non profit, seem like a tactic of keeping a low area down. If anyone can answer any of these questions, please do. Listen to one side of a story, but don’t make an opinion until you have heard the other side, don’t be bias because your friend said so. Investigate for the facts.

  2. You’re digging for something that’s not there, James. It’s very common for renderings to change in the early parts of a project as it moves from concept to master plan to development plan. Especially for a phased project like this. And as far as we have tracked, there have only been two revisions to the original design. That happens with every major project. It also sounds like the Metro Council member you reference didn’t have the whole story. Clearly there is a development plan in place now and the project is moving forward.

  3. Braden, thanks for responding and I enjoy the website.
    There is no need to dig for anything when the facts are there in plain site, I would like to get some answers. I agree, renderings do change as projects move forward, but remain similar through the process. The original phased project included a methane plant, that was under the radar because of this trojan horse.
    Rendering #1 -$45M- was shown in the CJ http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2014/09/18/west-end-parcel-become-louisville-food-hub/15828353/
    Rendering #2 shows -$30M – aka zig zag methane included. This building looks nice would have been a show piece. This was approved by BOZA in August/September
    http://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/news/2015/01/21/check-out-how-the-west-louisville-food-port-might.html
    Rendering #3 starts the downsizing, no methane, the 2 story pyramid looking building now has 1 story.
    http://www.leoweekly.com/2015/09/qa-with-caroline-heine-project-director-of-the-%E2%80%A8west-louisville-foodport/
    Rendering #4 -$56M- changed so much that it was resubmitted for Cat 3 approval at the beginning of March and revised March 21st, now looking like a “zig” no zag of a metal shed.
    http://brokensidewalk.com/2016/foodport-development-agreement/

    In August of 2015, a new implement to the LDC was to notify the public prior to submitting a pre-application. I am not sure if this happened since this latest submittal would be a new project and not a revision to the August approved one. Not to mention that their development agreement expired on 12-31-15, that could have given the property to another entity, but wasn’t. Since this project is using federal and state dollars, why wasn’t it advertised for bid? Why have a participation “goal” with no intention of achieving it? Will there be management or supervisory positions available at the job fair? or just labor?
    As a concerned resident of Louisville,that lives in the west, I only want some type of understanding.

  4. the original proposal was interesting, this one just looks like a strip mall with grass. an expensive strip mall…..

  5. http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/centralwest/2016/08/17/west-louisville-foodport-canceled/88906080/
    It is hard to hear that something will not be taking place on the site.
    But is more concerning that the city announced and pushed for the project to get $7M around the same time the owners found out that their primary tenant had cancelled plans to move forward, especially after hearing of the community meeting about the money, 2 days ago.
    Looks like the soccer stadium and sports complex now, something positive, something soon.
    Will the updated comments return to the screen?

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