Project Conceptual Plan
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The deal for the old Colgate plant won’t close until the end of the year, but already the Town of Clarksville is aiming to create a vibrant new neighborhood, a city within a city, along the banks of the Ohio River based on the planning principles of New Urbanism. An unnamed out-of-state buyer is currently working through the sale of the 52 acre Colgate site and is collaborating with the city to maximize the full potential of the project. The Colgate property, however, will make up only one, central component of the larger plan dubbed Clark’s Landing.

Overall, the conceptual plan for Clark’s Landing encompasses 150 to 160 acres of prime waterfront land and the entire 10 to 15 year project could cost an estimated $500 million. Rick Dickman, Clarksville Redevelopment Director, hopes to see a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood rise on the abandoned industrial site including condos, restaurants, retail, hotels, office space, and even a convention center. He believes building in accordance with New Urbanism will create the most pedestrian friendly and environmentally sustainable project with activity in the morning, noon, and night, and will maximize the real estate values for the developers. Norton Commons, Liberty Green, and Park DuValle are recent examples of New Urbanism in Louisville.

Marathon / Ashland Oil Tanks
Marathon / Ashland Oil Tanks. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

South of the Colgate facility, several Marathon / Ashland Oil tanks sit next to the levee occupying some of the best real estate in Southern Indiana.  Built in 1949, the tanks house a variety of fuels, from jet fuel to various blends of gasoline. At one point, Rick Dickman remembers 200 tanker trucks travelling through the area a day. Agreements over the years have ended those tanker trips as well as created Ashland Park. Clarksville is in negotiations with the company to relocate their fuel storage operations upriver to an industrial park in Jeffersonville.

The plan is only a concept to guide the development of the Clarksville riverfront. The next step is to approach the nation’s leading New Urbanist master planners to create a more refined vision with which to market the plan to investors. Dickman says the city wants the best plan available and expects 4 or 5 national firms to be approached for the job. With such a large land area and scope, the project will likely involve multiple developers acting under a coordinating agency, either a landowner or special Clarksville zoning regulations, much the same way Norton Commons is being developed. Clarksville will act as the facilitator in the process.

Old Colgate Plant
Old Colgate Plant. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

A special zoning district is being formed for the project and will be voted on at a town meeting November 17. Each block of the project will have building height requirements to maximize the view of the Ohio River and Louisville skyline. Transportation will also play a key role. The pedestrian is placed as the transportation model. Wide sidewalks are planned as well as many walking and biking trails. Trolleys are also expected to connect to the rest of Clarksville and to downtown Louisville. Parking will be kept at a minimum and hidden behind buildings to create a vibrant city-scape.

Dickman sees the project as a way to enhance the quality of life in Southern Indiana. He explains Clarksville has never had a downtown, and Clark’s Landing will become the epicenter of urban Clarksville. He expects young professionals working both in Louisville and Indiana as well as retiring baby boomers to be attracted to the residential nature of the project and the central location in the Louisville metropolitan area.

The project will undergo planning for the next three years or so, hopefully enough time to let the current economic problems run their course. The project looks to be one of the most exciting developments in years to come as hundreds of new residential units could be built as part of the project. The central location directly across from downtown Louisville will provide great benefits on both sides of the river.

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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

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