A tipster points us to the latest edition of the Irish Hill Neighborhood Association newsletter stating the proposed development on the old River Metals and Progress Rail properties off Lexington Road first announced in 2006 has been abandoned.
IHNA was recently advised that Poe Companies has chosen to withdraw their option on purchasing the River Metals and former Progress Rail properties. Many large Metro construction projects have slowed almost to a halt or ceased due to the poor economy. As all of us are feeling the pinch of the economy, we need to remember that eventually things will look up and chances for new beginnings will occur. IHNA believes that is true and that eventually this land will be developed into something that the neighborhood can take pride in claiming. As always, we will keep the neighbors informed with any new information in the future.
The project, called Crossings at Irish Hill, has been controversial from the outset with neighborhood opposition to straightening Beargrass Creek and moving it to the back of the site. The plan called for a grocery store, a bank, retail and restaurants at a cost of about $35 million. It would have been located on over 30 acres of contaminated brownfields close to Downtown Louisville. Renderings and a site plan of the proposal can be seen on the Poe Companies web site. At one point the fight between the neighborhood and the Poe Companies got ugly as Poe suggested abandoning the retail development in favor of mini-warehouses. After more outcry and at the urging of Mayor Abramson and Economic Development Director Bruce Traughber, the original plan was adopted again last summer but sat quiet since. In the end, residents were split between support and opposition for the project. You can read more coverage of the story from the LEO here and here or from Business First here or explore the site at Live Maps.
Crossings at Irish Hill would have brought needed new development to a contaminated brownfield site, but would have largely retained the qualities of a strip mall, but with a better layout and plenty of green space. The plan called for 890 parking spots, and from the looks of the site plan, parking dominated the site. With the project dead in the meandering waters of Beargrass Creek, we can only hope a new proposal will crop up in coming years for the centrally located site. In 2002, Irish Hill commissioned a Neighborhood Plan suggesting routes for future development of the area. The schemes proposed a much more urban and mixed-use vision for the site with Beargrass Creek in its current path.
Irish Hill needs a development that can anchor the neighborhood and provide its missing center. Hopefully a new future proposal will have learned from the battles of the past and help fully connect the neighborhood and the city. For now, though, it will remain an abandoned wasteland.