First Phases Of Beecher Terrace Redo On Track, But Officials Still Predict Cost Overruns Monday, Jan 27 2020 

The first phase of the Beecher Terrace redevelopment is on track, even as the project’s overall cost is projected to surpass original estimates.

Alex Hunn of Messer Construction, the project manager for the new Beecher Terrace, said the first two phases of the housing project will meet their $50 million budget. The first phase is a 117-unit senior living building that will open this fall, he said.

The Louisville Metro Housing Authority is using a mix of federal and local funds to complete the project, which will cost about $200 million overall. LMHA Executive Director Lisa Osanka said Monday that a combination of factors contributed to a construction budget gap of $19 million last March that shrank to $12 million in November.

In an email, Osanka pointed to certain cost-raising pressures that came into play since late 2016: “new trade tariffs on materials, increased demands for materials and labor resulting from numerous natural disasters throughout the United States, and a boom of large-scale residential, hotel and industrial projects that have taken place in Louisville.”

That combined with lower revenue from Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) as a result of the Republican tax change in 2017 meant LMHA has fewer funds to pay for more expensive goods and services, she said.

Those factors are why LMHA pursued an additional $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on top of the $29.5 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant awarded in late 2016, which city officials credit for the Beecher Terrace project.

Osanka and other city officials announced that they had received that additional grant — which also allows them to extend the final project deadline two years to 2025 — last month.

LMHA is now counting on that supplement and seeking other potential solutions to plug the hole. Some options include a combined $1 million injection through a Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) and Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund matching program, as well as a higher-value LIHTC allocation from KHC that could bring in an additional $5 million, she said.

Plus, the housing authority is willing to put in more money.

“LMHA is prepared to contribute $7.5 [million] towards the remaining budget gap using its Capital Funds and Section 8 reserves,” Osanka said. “LMHA has also identified additional Section 8 Reserve funds in the event the future phases’ construction costs exceed the current Master Budget estimates.”

Meanwhile, Hunn said a mild winter has helped keep the construction on the first two phases moving along. That could change in the near future if the weather changes.

“Now when winter hits, everything moves a little bit slower,” he said. “Just the the cold temperatures, it’s just harder to work in.”

Amina Elahi | wfpl.org

Beecher Terrace project manager Alex Hunn of Messer Construction.

Already, workers have started putting windows in the parts of the building that have already been drywalled, which allows them to pump heat in and make working conditions more comfortable.

About 40 to 50 people work on the senior building each day, Hunn said. The units there will be about 600 square feet each, with kitchens that open into combination living and dining spaces, plus a single bedroom with an attached bathroom. There will be communal laundry on each floor.

The new Beecher Terrace will be rebuilt on 12 city blocks in four phases. All the old residents have moved out, and many relocated to other public housing or scatter sites. City officials have said those who want to move back will be able to.

Amina Elahi | wfpl.org

Original Beecher Terrace buildings still standing in the Russell neighborhood will be demolished in future phases of the project

But the new Beecher Terrace will have mixed-income housing, unlike the original complex, which had 758 units, all for low-income people. The new complex will have 448 units for residents of that income level.

Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4) dropped in on a media hard hat tour Monday to reflect on the progress of the construction. She said many families want to return to Beecher Terrace, but did not provide an estimate on how many.

“Everyone had the opportunity to work with case managers to fill out their forms and to make sure we know where folks are and how to get in touch with them,” she said. “So when it’s time to start moving folks back in, they’ll have that first option to do so.”

Passport Considers Selling West Louisville Site To Revive Stalled Headquarters Project Saturday, Jan 4 2020 

Passport Health Plan is taking a new direction in its approach to the west Louisville site where construction on its planned headquarters has been stalled since last year. As the company aims to win a bid to renew its contract with the state, its CEO Scott Bowers announced Passport will issue a call to interested developers to restart the project.

Bowers said Passport will issue a request for proposals by the end of next week. In an interview Friday, he said the RFP would include an opportunity for a developer to buy some or all of the 20-acre property at 18th and Broadway.

“Instead of Passport developing it ourselves, financing it ourselves and managing the project ourselves, we want a partner developer to do that with and for us,” he said.

Though the company first said it would switch to outside development last summer, this is the first indication it is open to selling some of the land in west Louisville.

A West End Headquarters?

The west Louisville site was intended to host a $130 million, multi-building campus that would include a new corporate headquarters for Passport. The company put construction on hold in February, citing financial difficulties.

Passport is now ready to get it going again as it pursues a new state contract and finds itself on stronger financial footing, Bowers said.

“I don’t want to over-sell that … you’re [not] going to see the dirt turning tomorrow,” he said. “It’s going to take us a little bit of time to get the developers all pulled together, reset our financing, but we’re no longer in that sort of wait-and-see mode.”

The company has been working on ways to restart the project since last summer, around the time it named Bowers CEO. He came over from Evolent Health, the Virginia-based company that completed its purchase of a 70 percent stake in Passport this week.

Now, as Passport seeks to reverse its luck and win a contract renewal from Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration, it is attempting to “revitalize” the west Louisville project. Beshear announced last month that he would redo the bid process for state contracts amid concerns of bias around the awards given by his predecessor Matt Bevin, who elected not to renew Passport’s contract.

Bowers said the RFP could lead to a developer buying the site, as long as the developer lines up with Passport’s vision of helping the community, bringing jobs to the area and improving health and quality of life.

“Certainly the development takes on a very different look and feel if we don’t have a long-term contract, but what we’re doing is creating a flexible RFP that allows, you know, a developer to see the benefits of Passport as a long-term tenant,” he said.

Passport and Evolent have 600 employees in Louisville and are committed to leasing up to 140,000 square feet on the campus.

Bowers said the company is trying to be “flexible and helpful to a developer to encourage them to want to invest in that area.”

A Path Forward

The Passport project is one of a number of major planned investments in west Louisville, a group of neighborhoods that are economically depressed as a result of decades of racist government policies. A historical lack of development has made the area unattractive to companies. An attempt to build a Walmart there failed in 2016.

West Louisville is also home to many low-income and African American citizens, including many enrollees in Passport’s plan.

Bowers said Passport is pursuing a new financial setup to complete development of the land and campus. A spokesman for the company recently said it had already invested $40 million into the project. Passport also received federal New Markets Tax Credits and a local Tax Increment Financing district for the project.

David Zetter, a Pennsylvania-based healthcare management consultant, said it makes sense for a healthcare company to focus on its core business rather than property development.

“Why would they want to be involved in building, developing a piece of property? Let an expert do that,” he said. “They are a health insurance company, not a property developer or a building developer.”

A competing bidder, California-based Molina Healthcare, is also interested in the site. A source familiar with the situation said the company would be willing to commit to a medium-term lease for more than 1,100 employees. Bevin awarded a contract to Molina, which plans to reapply to the Beshear administration in hopes of gaining entry to the Kentucky Medicaid market.

Louisville Awarded $4 Million Grant To Boost Beecher Terrace Project Friday, Dec 27 2019 

Louisville’s Choice Neighborhoods program is receiving a $4 million federal grant to boost the redevelopment of Beecher Terrace. 

Vision Russell, the initiative overseeing the project under the Louisville Metro Housing Authority, started construction on Beecher Terrace in 2017 with a $29.5 million U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant. This latest award, announced Friday by Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Representative John Yarmuth, is a supplemental grant and the fourth Choice Neighborhood grant for Russell.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer with Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, 4th District Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and McCormack Baron Salazar Vice President Laura Kinsell-Baer announcing a $4 million supplmental federal grantKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer with Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, 4th District Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and McCormack Baron Salazar Vice President Laura Kinsell-Baer announcing a $4 million supplmental federal grant

In November, the Louisville Metro Housing Authority announced it will spend $34 million more than first projected for the Beecher project. And changes in federal law mean there is less revenue for the project. 

LMHA Executive Director Lisa Osanka said they have not yet found other revenue sources to cover the unexpected costs. She said LMHA could cover the rest of the bill by paying out of pocket, cutting costs or asking the developer, McCormack Baron Salazar, to cut some of its costs. 

“There are a number of tools that we have in the toolbox,” Osanka said. “We won’t know exactly today what tools will be necessary but we’ll get it figured out.”

The Choice Supplemental grant can only be used for Beecher Terrace replacement housing units, but the terms of the grant give LMHA an additional two years to complete all 758 housing units. Officials say the last of those units will be complete by 2025.

Other phases of the Beecher Terrace redevelopment are expected to meet their 2023 deadline. The first phase — a building for residents 55 and older — is expected to be finished by fall 2020.

Louisville is one of only five Choice Neighborhood Initiative grantees to be awarded these additional funds. Congressman Yarmuth said it helps pave the way toward redeveloping the Russell neighborhood and erasing the city’s “ninth street divide.”

“This [development] is the kind of thing that will transform not just the Russell neighborhood, but also all of west Louisville and our community,” Yarmuth said. “This $4 million is not only going to help complete some projects that might’ve had some cost escalation, but [also] make this an even better project for the Russell neighborhood.”

Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, 4th District Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and Louisville Metro Housing Authority Board Chair Manfred Reid Sr.Kyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, 4th District Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and Louisville Metro Housing Authority Board Chair Manfred Reid Sr.

At Friday’s news conference announcing the grant, outgoing District 4 Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said she wants to address concerns about the possibility of rising property values in Russell. She said she’d like to see an expansion of the existing tax breaks Louisville offers to homeowners who make improvements to their homes. Sexton Smith said she plans to file legislation in January. 

West End YMCA To Open In December Monday, Nov 25 2019 

17th and Broadway YMCA Front EntranceLouisville’s newest YMCA, at 18th Street and Broadway, will open on Dec. 14, officials said Friday.

The YMCA missed its planned October opening due to construction delays, officials said at the time. It is one of several major developments taking place in west Louisville, and the first to be completed.

The facility sits across the street from the stalled development of a new corporate headquarters for Passport Health Plan. And about 12 blocks west of there, construction on the Louisville Urban League’s track and field complex is underway.

These projects plus the renovation of Beecher Terrace are the largest in a planned mass investment that could total hundreds of millions of dollars. The neighborhoods of west Louisville have not seen that kind of development in decades, due to government policies that were designed to block investment.

The new facility cost $28 million and spans more than 77,000 square feet.

Along with exercise facilities such as a fitness center and pool, the YMCA will offer health and job training resources, including a center to train teens for jobs that require technology skills

In West Louisville, Nonprofit’s Small Developer Loans Target Vacant Properties Thursday, Nov 14 2019 

The mostly African American neighborhoods of west Louisville were intentionally cut off from investment and homeownership due to decades of discriminatory policies. But these days, there’s a lot of capital going into that area, especially in Russell. Part of that neighborhood has a median income of just slightly more than $9,000.

LHOME, a local nonprofit lender, says it wants to put more capital in the hands of west Louisville residents, many of whom have some of the lowest incomes in the county and suffer from a lack of affordable housing. Its new small developer loans product aims to help people who live in those neighborhoods renovate vacant and abandoned properties for their own use or to rent out affordably.

At an annual meeting on Tuesday, CEO Amy Shir said organizations like LHOME — a Community Development Financial Institution, which is a private lender that lends money to low-income people — weren’t created to fix historic problems like redlining, but they are part of the solution.

“CDFIs were created to provide access to capital for people who were purposefully, intentionally and wrongfully excluded from the economic mainstream,” she said. “Providing access to capital does not solve all of society’s problems. But it is a critical tool for social, racial and economic justice.”

Last month, LHOME launched its business loan product aimed at small developers, with half a million dollars set aside to give loans of up to $30,000. Shir said the loans are aimed at people with a “certain level of sophistication,” perhaps those who have renovated houses before.

One early recipient is Marcus Harris, who runs a nonprofit organization called Pride Leadership Academy where he teaches kids different skills in areas like construction, agriculture and sustainability. He said at the event a loan from LHOME will help him work on a house he bought this year. Previously, he struggled to get loans because he didn’t have a proven track record.

“Having somebody that trusted in us just gave us the opportunity and the resources … to actually get out and do what we needed to create our own sustainability to kind of fund some of the programs that will help us change the community for real,” he said.

Shir said the nonprofit’s preference is to have neighborhood residents invested in these types of properties, rather than outsiders.

“It keeps the culture of the neighborhood for the people who have lived there for generations. If we allow outside speculators to buy up all the properties and own all the stuff, and then drive up the property taxes then the people who have lived in those neighborhoods, who built those neighborhoods, the churches, all the fabric is undermined because people are displaced,” she said.

But can LHOME’s small developer loan product keep people in their neighborhoods? Urban development researcher James Fraser, who has studied gentrification in Nashville, thinks there’s a chance.

“This is a type of program that sounds like it has the potential to create some positive neighborhood change in terms of decreasing for example, abandoned buildings or vacant buildings,” he said.

He said there probably aren’t any direct downsides to LHOME’s small developer loans program, and abandoned buildings clearly have a negative impact on many residents in low-income neighborhoods. But he warned that if lots of these types of efforts happen at once, neighborhoods can change before residents realize it.

“And all of a sudden the neighborhood is viewed by capital investors as a place where they can place their money to make a profit,” he said, “then there have to be additional resources put in play for folks that live there.”

Fixing up vacant buildings can contribute to rising property values, property taxes and rent. And that can make it more difficult for people to continue affording to live in their neighborhoods.

Shir said she is working on an advocacy campaign to encourage state legislators to cap property values for west Louisville residents. State law currently prohibits Louisville from making that kind of change, though it’s something Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has said he has asked for, too. Rent control, another measure some say protects low-earners from rising housing costs, is also illegal in Kentucky.

Regardless, changing the law can take years. And current west Louisville residents say they’re already seeing their neighborhoods change and become less affordable.

Fraser said intervention is needed.

“There needs to be a suite of having related policies that respond to the challenges that low income families face in the area,” he said. “So it’s not only about say, property tax increases, it’s not only about rent price increases, possibly, but it’s really also about making sure that multifamily apartment buildings remain affordable for people.”

Louisville’s eviction rate is nearly double the national average, and without protective policies in place, Fraser said the cumulative effect of developer loans like LHOME’s could have an unintended consequence: forcing people out of their homes.

Louisville Urban League’s Track Gets $5 Million And A Name From Norton Healthcare Monday, Oct 14 2019 

The Louisville Urban League announced a major fundraising gift for its track and field project Monday; it’s the first of this scale in nearly a year. But CEO and president Sadiqa Reynolds said the nonprofit isn’t done yet.

Norton Healthcare pledged $5 million to the project in the form of a $3 million grant and an additional $2 million matching challenge, and with that bought the naming rights to the facility. It will be known as the Norton Sports Health Athletics & Learning Complex.

City and nonprofit leaders hailed the investment as a major commitment to a project that some say could contribute to transforming the West End of Louisville, which has suffered from discriminatory policies and a lack of investment for decades.

“It’s the right thing to do, and it’s way past time to do it.,” said Russell Cox, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare, of the investment.

Norton Sports Health Athletics & Learning Complex

A rendering of the Norton Sports Health Athletics & Learning Complex.

Reynolds, typically outspoken, was cautiously celebratory after a press conference Monday morning.

“I feel pretty good today,” she said. “I have to keep it in perspective, or I get a little bit overwhelmed just thinking about it all, but I do. I feel good.”

The Norton investment brings the total for the facility’s capital campaign to about $24 million.

Amina Elahi | wfpl.org

Sadiqa Reynolds of the Louisville Urban League and Russell Cox of Norton Healthcare at the naming announcement on Monday, October 14, 2019.

Last November, the James Graham Brown Foundation put in $3 million. The project also got $10 million from Louisville Metro via a bond, which was almost held up amid last spring’s budget confusion.

In June, the Louisville Urban League launched a campaign called Run With Us, through which it aimed to raise $20 million by selling naming rights to the complex’s 4,000 seats for $5,000 apiece. When the group broke ground on the site in August, it raised about $300,000 that day from seat sales.

Reynolds said Monday that overall seat sales have been fine, but not as strong as she expected. They’ve sold about 250 seats.

There are more fundraising opportunities to consider, too. Reynolds said Opportunity Zone investment is an option, as are New Markets Tax Credits. She said the Urban League could net about $6 million from those credits.

For more context on how the track and field complex fits into overall development taking place in west Louisville, listen to this episode of Here Today:

West End YMCA Opening Delayed Past October Target Wednesday, Sep 18 2019 

17th and Broadway YMCA Front EntranceA state of the art YMCA facility under construction near 18th St. and Broadway is a bit behind schedule.

Until recently, the $28 million facility facility was expected to open in October. But officials now say that will be pushed to an unspecified date this fall.

Steve Tarver, CEO of YMCA Greater Louisville, said in a statement that the organization is excited to open the facility, which will span 77,000 square feet, this fall.

“Our original opening date of October was based on preliminary construction projections. As part of the routine construction process the opening has been moved to later this fall,” he said. “Our efforts remain focused on bringing the community a state-of-the-art facility.”

The YMCA is one of a handful of major projects in west Louisville contributing to a level of investment in that part of the city that has not been seen for decades due to discriminatory policies and a resulting lack of business interest. Of the major projects, is the furthest along in its progress.

The intersection of 18th and Broadway is expected to be a locus of investment, if plans pan out. In January, the city opened a realigned intersection that it invested $1.2 million to create.

At the time, Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement that the project “helps to make this critical intersection a foundation for even more investment in West Louisville.”

On the north side of Broadway, non-profit OneWest, which promotes commercial real estate development, is working on plans to redevelop a strip of buildings.

But across the street from the YMCA is the stalled framing of the new corporate headquarters of Medicaid provider Passport Health Plan. That project is on hold amid the company’s financial struggles.

Learn more about planned investments in west Louisville in this episode of the WFPL podcast Here Today:

West Louisville Residents Suggest Paths To Revitalization Without Gentrification Monday, Sep 16 2019 

Residents and stakeholders gathered at a "Responsible Revitalization" SymposiumAround 100 residents and stakeholders gathered Friday for a forum about responsible revitalization in Louisville’s West End, offering policy suggestions to improve their neighborhoods without pushing out current residents.

The forum was hosted by the nonprofit OneWest, which is also buying properties and retail spaces across west Louisville..

WFPL has followed concerns about gentrification in the West End as part of our podcast Here Today — where we investigated the city’s history of disinvestment in the area and talked to officials and affected residents about planned new investments. On Friday, Metro Councilwoman Jessica Green said the OneWest forum could empower residents to become involved in the process and let their voices be heard.

“Too many times people in west Louisville have felt that the powers that be have just tried to push things down their throat,” Green said. “But any time we can engage with the people and let them have an active role and active voice in terms of what they believe works, I think that we all come out as winners.”

Here’s what some residents had to say:

  • “[Developers] come in, they get the money, they’re gone and then we’re stuck with their property,” Joe McNealy said of abandoned properties, adding that he thinks the city should hold more developers accountable. “We as taxpayers have to pay for what they leave us behind.”
  • “Ownership of the land is a critical aspect of protecting the community,” Greg Wright said.
  • “We can’t put the onus only on developers or only on investors,” Frank McNeal. “The issue is beyond merely developers. It’s community, it’s governmental agencies, it’s a number of players.”
  •  “[In] 2008, the economy crashed. Everybody’s mortgage went to crap across the nation, I don’t know how we could have prevented that,” Jeffrey Thompson said. “What fell through the crack in my opinion is that we didn’t have the backing from the city. We were forgotten about.”
Russell residents discuss how to address problems they see in the neighborhood at "responsible revitalization" symposiumKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Russell residents discuss how to address problems they see in the neighborhood at “responsible revitalization” symposium

Nearly $1 billion in investments are planned for west Louisville, including funding for projects like a new YMCA, a sports and learning complex, an arts and culture district and an overhaul of the Beecher Terrace housing development.

Louisville Metro Council President David James, who moderated Friday’s forum, said he plans to take residents’ concerns and suggestions to the city.

At Future Site Of West Louisville’s Track And Field Complex, Some Residents Are Concerned About Cleanup Plan Thursday, Sep 12 2019 

Residents are raising concerns about plans to clean up land slated for the Louisville Urban League’s Sports and Learning Complex.

The complex is being built on a brownfield at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard — contaminated soil where an old tobacco plant used to be. At a Russell Neighborhood Association forum Wednesday, officials said the Urban League will pay around $315,000 to cap the contaminated soil and truck in some new soil. Louisville is funding the cleanup with a $350,000 grant from its federally-funded Brownfield Cleanup Loan Program, and as part of its agreement with the city the Urban League must pay out-of-pocket to annually inspect the cap.

Metro Government Brownfields and Community Engagement Strategist Allison Smith said the city believes this method will be sufficient to protect public health.

“When it’s capped, there is no contact with it. So the effect on public health is potentially minuscule because, again, you have to actually have direct contact with it for it to affect you,” she said. “So it’s the same protection on public health as if you removed it.”

Completely removing the soil would have been more expensive: around $459,200. But resident Alicia Fox said the Urban League should have paid more to remove the soil completely.

“Is really $100,000 so much more to raise considering the long term effect?” Fox said. “That $100,000 is going to not have us continuously monitor to make sure the area is safe, to not have to spend that long-term money.

Urban League CEO Sadiqa Reynolds broke ground on the site last month; at the time, she said the organization had raised about $19 million of the project’s estimated $40 million cost. Officials have praised the site since plans for it were announced last year and welcomed its potential benefits for west Louisville neighborhoods. But neighborhood activist Jackie Floyd said the Urban League has not communicated with residents about many aspects, including environmental cleanup, since winning approval for the development.

“If you’re building something in the community, you’re developing something in the community,  then you know people are going to have these questions,” Floyd said. “The bottom line is it is [their] responsibility to educate the community about their facility.”

Capping for the brownfield starts September 19. Representatives of the Urban League were unavailable for comment Thursday.

‘Miracle’ On 30th Street: Urban League Breaks Ground On Sports Complex Tuesday, Aug 27 2019 

By the end of 2020, the Louisville Urban League plans to transform 24 acres of contaminated land in west Louisville into an indoor-outdoor track and field complex that will be a place for families and students to gather and learn.

Political, faith and community leaders joined Sadiqa Reynolds, CEO and president of the Louisville Urban League, to break ground on the abandoned site at 30th St. and Muhammad Ali Blvd. on Tuesday afternoon.

The event was part celebration, part fundraiser, with Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey (D-3) leading the gathered crowd in a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and supporters pledging nearly $300,000 in funds for the project.

That brought the total raised to nearly $19 million, although Reynolds said the group needs $40 million to execute her complete vision, which includes an indoor track on hydraulics that can be lowered to host concerts or fencing competitions, outdoor wildlife classrooms, bowling alleys and healthy food concessions.

Amina Elahi | wfpl.org

Pastor F. Bruce Williams leads supporters of the Louisville Urban League track and field complex in prayer.

It was a scene embedded with faith, with Pastor F. Bruce Williams of Bates Memorial Baptist Church opening the ceremony with a prayer.

“Father, we thank you for this moment,” he began. “We believe that this is holy ground. And that you and your mysterious Providence has kept this in Divine escrow, for this moment, for this revolutionary purpose.”

Later, Reynolds recalled her prayers for a solution when the Foodport project planned for the site — which had been contaminated by tobacco manufacturers and subsequently became vacant — fell through.

She said she sees it as an answer to the redlining and neglect that afflicted this area and led to its current economically depressed state.

“To me, an investment in this project is an exact response to a redlining report,” Reynolds said. “You are saying, ‘We have read the data, we have seen the data, it is broken policy that has created this and we are going to invest in the fix.”

Amina Elahi | wfpl.org

30th and Muhammad Ali, the future site of the Louisville Urban League’s Sports and Learning Complex

Reynolds referred to the “miracle” of getting the projects to this point, which she said is enough to fund the first phase of the complex. That includes building the outdoor track and purchasing a prefabricated building to house the indoor track.

And she said the groundbreaking doesn’t mark the end of the League’s fundraising campaign. Earlier this summer, the group launched a marketing effort to raise $20 million by selling naming rights to the facility’s planned 4,000 seats for $5,000 apiece.

On Tuesday, individuals and groups purchased more than three dozen seats. Reynolds said there are “plenty” more available, though she did not give more detail.

The complex is one of four major projects currently planned for west Louisville. The others are a new YMCA that will open this fall, the redevelopment of Beecher Terrace and the stalled Passport corporate headquarters. Learn more about them here.

Last week, the League purchased the land — which was recently declared a surplus property by Louisville Metro — for $1. If The city also invested $10 million into the project through a bond.