Downtown’s largest construction project has quietly been moving along on Broadway between Seventh and Eighth streets, adding one more piece to Louisville’s growing “precast concrete district” along this stretch of Broadway. The five-story building will house offices for federal U.S. attorneys working in the courthouse to the east, but the building is being privately developed for the federal government by JDL Castle of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Designed by RBA Group of Charlotte, North Carolina, the structure’s painted precast concrete panel facade is meant to mimic the appearance of the neighboring Gene Snyder Courthouse, but on a budget. Architect Joe Elliott said the building will share the general shape and color as the courthouse, including the archways along the building’s base. The building adheres to strict federal anti-terrorism guidelines and is set back off the street behind a fence and sturdy bollards to protect against cars ramming the structure.
Two levels of parking, encompassing about 80 spaces, is set beneath 20,000 square feet of offices on four floors. The structure is registered LEED Silver for sustainable building. Elliott said the building includes energy efficient lighting and will recycle 80 percent of its construction waste. “It’s all pretty much standard anymore,” he added.
Bob Keesaer, Project Architect with Metro Louisville, said a special exemption was made for the building’s setback as the form district specifies building to the sidewalk. Attorneys in the building handle high risk federal cases, so the building meets regulations set forth by the Department of Homeland Security. He said the city pushed for increased design considerations on the project, “We wanted to make sure the design had some relationship to the existing federal courthouse.”
While under construction, the sidewalk along Broadway has been blocked to pedestrians, forcing walkers to cross Broadway or venture out into the street, drawing the ire of of pedestrian advocacy groups (see photo below). The U.S. Attorneys Office Building is expected to be complete in November.
Already complete behind the office building is a smaller, even more security intensive structure built as part of the same project and also clad in precast panels. The small two-story Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building is operated by the Department of Homeland Security, is set far off the street, and includes a federal detention facility. Fortified driveways with wide fields of view run from Seventh to Eighth streets.