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Hotel and 'significant' affordable housing planned on edge of NuLu in Louisville – Courier Journal

Louisville officials are taking steps to clear the way for a massive mixed-use development with affordable and market-rate housing and a hotel to be built in Phoenix Hill.
At a Labor and Economic Development Committee meeting this week, members gave a unanimous thumbs-up to a proposed tax increment financing district for the $115 million project coming to the edge of NuLu. The proposal is expected to be taken up by the full Metro Council next month, and officials behind the development say construction could begin early next year.
The project, from Weyland Ventures and City Development Group, would be built on a vacant lot along Shelby Street between Marshall and Jefferson streets, just west of Clay Street and across the road from the Rabbit Hole Distillery.
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Renderings have not yet been filed, but the proposal calls for a 130-unit hotel with a rooftop bar, 295 market-rate housing units and a Family Scholar House with 60 units of affordable housing. A 280-car parking garage, 70,000 additional square feet of commercial space and two pocket parks along Shelby Street also are included.
The $115 million price tag for the developer would be offset in part by the TIF, which would allow those behind the project to receive up to $7.7 million in future tax money, though Councilman Anthony Piagentini, a committee member, noted the proposal includes $11 million in public infrastructure investment.
The TIF district, referred to as the “Shelby Street Development Area,” was sponsored by Councilman Jecorey Arthur, who represents the district. Louisville’s shortage in affordable housing, estimated by local advocates to sit at about 30,000 units, is what led him to back the project, he said.
“I don’t care for the hotel … I don’t care for a lot of the incoming TIF prospects that we have on the table,” Arthur told committee members. “But this affordable housing piece is significant for the city.”
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Family Scholar House, a Louisville-based support organization with five locations around the city, is behind the project’s affordable housing portion. Program director Denise Thomas said first in line for the new units would be people who were displaced by the demolition of the nearby Clarksdale housing projects to make way for the Liberty Green apartments in 2005.
The project has the support of the city’s economic team, Louisville Forward. Co-chair Rebecca Fleischaker told committee members that the Shelby Street Development Area would help fill the gap in local affordable housing and would be an encouraging development after the coronavirus pandemic slowed growth in 2020.
The affordable housing aspect of the plan would cost around $13 million, according to Weyland Ventures CEO Mariah Gratz. Money from the TIF would not fully cover that price tag, she said, but the company could go after other tax credits and sources of funding to finish the job.
If all goes well, she said, construction of the hotel and market-rate housing units could begin toward the end of the first quarter of 2022, with work on the remaining pieces taking place later in the year. Supply chain issues have created “challenging” times for the construction industry, though, she said.
The next meeting of the full Louisville Metro Council is scheduled for Dec. 2.
Lucas Aulbach can be reached at [email protected], 502-582-4649 or on Twitter @LucasAulbach.

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