Construction in early August, 2011. (Courtesy Tipster)
Construction in early August, 2011. (Courtesy Tipster)
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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.

Rendering of the planned federal building (Courtesy RBA Group)
Rendering of the planned federal building. (Courtesy RBA Group)

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.

U.S. Attorney's Office Building on Broadway. (Broken Sidewalk)
U.S. Attorney’s Office Building on Broadway. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

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.

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Branden Klayko

14 COMMENTS

  1. Almost complete….give me a break….the exterior maybe….the inside isn’t even started….. what a terrible headline choice.

  2. Really Kevin? Presented with a precast concrete building as dull and soul sucking as this and you choose to complain about the headline of the story?

  3. I agree the building couldn’t be more boring, but it’s infill, and it’s what Downtown needs.

  4. If this building were anything but boring, the naysayers would be on here demanding to know why their tax dollars were being used so frivolously.

  5. Perhaps the most boring building built in downtown Louisville in the last decade. A Look at that building instantly makes the viewer 15% less creative.

  6. The building accurately reflects the current state of our federal government. I applaud the designers for their honesty.

  7. 100 years from now, Todd Blue’s great-grandson will be tearing this building down for parking.

  8. If I can paraphrase:

    “People get the government (office buildings) they deserve”

    There are so many things wrong with this building and how it has come about, that I’m not going to comment on it any more except to say this building will fall down on it’s own before Todd Blue’s children have the chance to tear it down

  9. The new Offices for the U S Attorneys sits on a 1.3 acre site and consists of 4 floors of 20,000 square-feet per floor above 2 levels of parking, and costing $8.6 million to construct

    The new Immigration & Customs Enforcement building is 19,000 square-feet, and has 57 parking spaces.

  10. @Kevin -actually inside is well underway. completion in 2-3 months. This project has provided a welcomed surge to the local economy. the building doesnt have to be a masterpiece. i say function over form any day

  11. Erik- checked out the article on the San Fran federal building…..all I can say is thatIm glad Im not a tax payer in San Francisco. what a waste of money. if that project were proposed in Lville it wouldnt even make it to plan review. yep innovative, creative and all that, but what developer / investor in todays economy would be willing to shell out that kind of jack for a stipend return from the gsa

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