Market Review: Cloud-based management propels projects

Louisville home and commercial construction sector embraces new tech efficiencies

By Kathie Stamps

REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION

The Louisville Urban League sports and learning complex is a multi-phase development that will include indoor/outdoor track and field space, a learning lab, entertainment space, community green space and outdoor event space.

Electronic and cloud-based tools have been a game changer for construction leaders to manage wide-ranging projects and collaborate with subcontractors.

Construction companies and hardware stores were among businesses deemed essential and exempt from shutdown when Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency by executive order in March.

market review coverEven so, the inventory of available properties was 20.6% lower in May 2020 than at the same time in 2019, which was a good year for residential real estate sales. From May 2019 to May 2020, the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors reported sales volume down 6.5%, but the average price was up 3.9% for all reported areas. GLAR represents more than 4,000 members involved in every aspect of residential and commercial real estate.

Miranda Construction, founded in 2016, has had annual growth of 43.7% and has been awarded more than 400 projects in Kentuckiana over the past four years, from high-end office remodels to design-build ground-up projects, including the Leadership Louisville Center on Main Street downtown, Goodwill in St. Matthews, NuLu Marketplace, St. John Center for Homeless Men and Volunteers of America Mid-States. The company’s mission is “Building Forward. Giving Back.”

Kelley Construction, a third-generation company founded in Louisville in 1978, did $160 million in general construction and construction management (GCCM) project volume in 2019. Many of those projects were in the hospitality and senior living industries across the Louisville market and 49 states, excluding Hawaii. In addition to new builds, Kelley renovation projects include Atria Senior Living in St. Matthews, Xscape Theaters in Blankenbaker, and the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville.

“Cloud-based, real-time project management systems allow us to operate very quickly,” said Tiffany Kelley Jenkins, president of Kelley Construction’s GCCM division. “Over the last five years, technology in construction has changed more, and given us more opportunities to enhance what we do, than in the 15 years prior to that.”


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A 16.7-acre property on South 11th Street in the Park Hill neighborhood has been vacant since 1994. In late May, Louisville Metro Government issued a Solicitation of Interest (SOI) for redevelopment of the land, known as the Rhodia property. A wastewater treatment plant once operated on the site and a historic two-story building still stands, the only Art Moderne building in Louisville.

The city issued another SOI in June for redevelopment of the 9.6-acre Urban Government Center site along Barret Avenue in Paristown Pointe. The property currently has four buildings, including the former seven-story Kentucky Baptist Hospital that was built in 1924.

The $35 million Norton Sports Health Athletics & Learning Complex will soon convert a 24-acre property in Louisville’s West End into an indoor/outdoor multiuse sports and learning complex. The project is expect to become attract other investment and spending to its neighborhood. Multistate regional meets have inquired to book its indoor/outdoor track and field space, outdoor event space, entertainment area with an interactive rock climbing wall and bowling alley, and a learning lab.

Its naming was announced in October 2019 by the Louisville Urban League and Norton Healthcare, which contributed $5 million through a $3 million grant and a $2 million matching challenge.

Blankenbaker Station, a 600-acre Class A business park in eastern Jefferson County, is a multiuse business park housing almost two dozen corporate tenants such as Eaton, Farm Credit Mid-America, FedEx Ground, FBI, Harshaw Trane, Quadrant Magnetics and Xscape Theatres. Louisville-based Hollenbach-Oakley, a commercial real estate development firm, closed on the sale of the final remaining 2.7-acre parcel in Phase I of the project, selling the lot to Buck Creek Explorations LLC in October 2019. There are about 100 acres of vacant land for Phases II and III of Blankenbaker Station.

Hunt Midwest, a real estate development company based in Kansas City (yes, the Lamar Hunt family of Kansas City Chiefs fame), is developing Blankenbaker Logistics Center, a 20-acre site scheduled to open in December 2020. Hunt Midwest selected Kansas City-based H2B Architects for building design and Louisville companies Mindel Scott for civil engineering and Summit Construction as general contractor.

“Louisville has become a logistics epicenter driving the need for e-commerce distribution space. It is a prime market for industrial development combining low vacancy rates with high demand for distribution from manufacturing, pharmaceutical and e-commerce companies,” Ora Reynolds, president and CEO of Hunt Midwest, said in a news release.

Summer construction

LouCity FC soccer stadium in the Butchertown neighborhood was named Lynn Family Stadium in the summer of 2019. The $65 million stadium was built by a joint venture with Messer Construction and Harmon Construction, beginning in late 2018 and completed in early March 2020.

Also in March, Louisville’s Metro Council approved a new public-private partnership with Soccer Holdings, LLC, the parent company of Louisville City FC. Three months later, Soccer Holdings released designs for a 30,000-s.f. practice facility and announced AML Construction as the contractor for the project at Champions Park on River Road.

Plans for the privately financed $15 million soccer complex include four turf fields for the local community and youth academy, three natural grass fields for the professional men’s and women’s teams, and a two-story training facility with locker rooms, a gym and workout areas, kitchen, dining hall and media room, as well as offices.

A section of Shelbyville Road in eastern Jefferson County is being widened to provide left turn lanes for the Johnson Road and Eastwood-Fisherville Road intersection. The project is being funded using System Development Charge Program funds and led by Louisville Metro Public Works Transportation & Engineering Division.

At the end of May 2020, year-to-date residential home sales in the Greater Louisville region were down 6.5% over 2019, likely because of the slowdown of the economy because of COVID-19. For the month of May alone, however, sales were down nearly 26%. (May data was the latest information available before this publication was printed.) The average selling price, $244,720, was up nearly 7%.

“The 26% drop in closings last month versus May 2019 was expected as those closings resulted from offers written just after the stay at home guidelines were put in place,” said Kathryn Sotelo, president of the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors (GLAR).

Showing activity in Kentucky was up 12% at the end of May 2020, compared with May 2019, GLAR said. Sotelo said June closings may be down slightly, but the region’s real estate agents expect that “pent up demand will probably close the gap in sales as long as new listings are added to the market.”

Agents have adapted to new procedures to increase safety during the pandemic, she said.

“While these are not normal conditions in which we typically list homes, we recognize that there are still sellers who need to sell and buyers that need to buy, and many, due to their life circumstances, have an urgent need and don’t feel they can wait,” Sotelo said. “We continue to find ways to help them through this time of turmoil to achieve their goals.”

In 2019, home sales in the region were down 0.3%, but the average price was up 4.9%, according to GLAR data.

Louisville was named one of the best cities in the United States for first-time homebuyers by SmartAsset, a financial data company. Move.org named Louisville the No. 4 cities with the lowest cost of living.

Louisville has several interesting and sought-after neighborhoods that appeal to newcomers. From walkable spots in the central part of the city to the funky culture of the Highlands and the more rural areas, there’s a neighborhood for every lifestyle. Learn more about those neighborhoods on liveinlou.com.


Hollenbach-Oakley

13307 Magisterial Drive

Louisville, KY 40223

(502) 253–1200

hollenbach-oakley.com

Visionaries in the Greater Louisville commercial real estate market, John Hollenbach and Greg Oakley have been leaders in the industry for over three decades. Hollenbach-Oakley is responsible for more than 3,000 acres of developments throughout the region, including Blankenbaker Crossings, Eastpoint Business Center, Blankenbaker Station Business Park, Oldham Reserve and River Ridge Gateway Office Park.

Hollenbach-Oakley serves as the project manager for the Louisville City Football Club soccer stadium, which will anchor the Butchertown Development District in Downtown Louisville.

The principals of Hollenbach-Oakley also own and manage Horizon Commercial Realty, a full-service commercial real estate brokerage firm that specializes in tenant/landlord representation and property management.