Largest investment in the area in a decade; will bring 300 jobs
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 24, 2014) — Bringing hundreds of new jobs and much-needed new retail to West Louisville, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Walmart will build a Supercenter at 18th and Broadway.
“This is an important announcement for our entire city and particularly for West Louisville because it brings jobs, retail and a significant investment to the California, Russell, Portland, Shawnee and Chickasaw neighborhoods,” Fischer said. “Just as important – this project sends a signal that West Louisville is indeed open for business.”
The project will create 300 jobs in the Walmart store, with $6 million in annual payroll. Additional jobs will be created with the project’s construction.
Fischer said Walmart is committed to hiring local citizens and the company will be opening a jobs and career center in the neighborhood to accept applications.
The Supercenter will have 150,000 square feet of retail and grocery space – nearly the size of three football fields — and will include an optometrist and pharmacy.
Fischer said the announcement follows more than a year of work and negotiations.
“The entire city government team, from economic development to our planning staff to the Metro Council, has worked hundreds of hours on this project,” he said. “From the first moments after I announced I was running for Mayor until as late as yesterday, people have stopped me to stress the need for new business, new jobs and new retail for Western Louisville. My team is proud that we can deliver.”
The mayor praised the vision and persistence of the project developers, Teresa and Frank Bridgewaters, owners of New Bridge Crossings. The Bridgewaters purchased the site from the city for $1 about a decade ago when it was a number of large vacant buildings that housed the former Phillip Morris factory. More recently, they worked with the city to acquire six additional parcels of land that were critical for Walmart to consider the location.
Fischer said the city’s investment in the project is primarily the $1.8 million to buy those six lots. Of that, $1.1 million was spent in 2013, with the remaining amount to be spent in the city fiscal year that starts July 1. In addition, the city is providing a $500,000 grant to Walmart, to be paid $100,000 a year for five years, if Walmart meets a threshold of at least 225 new jobs.
“This is an excellent return on investment for our citizens,” he said.
Fischer said the Walmart development will add to existing activity and energy in the neighborhood which includes a new YMCA across 18th Street, in addition to investments that neighbor Brown-Forman continues to make in its headquarters campus.
“I hope that this investment at this critical intersection at 18th and Broadway sends a loud message to other potential investors,” Fischer said.
There will be two out lots that will be retained by New Bridge Crossings for other potential future development, which is anticipated based on the experience with other Walmart Super centers.
Walmart plans to include a number of environmentally-friendly features, including:
• A rain garden and bio-swales, which capture storm-water runoff and help treat it;
• Native plants and trees in the parking lot, adding to the goal of increasing the city’s tree canopy;
• Skylights, energy efficient lighting and low flow toilets.
In addition, from an urban design perspective, 40 percent of the parking will be on the western side of the building.
Fischer also praised Metro Councilmembers, who were key in helping complete the deal, and he thanked them for their patience as the administration negotiated the agreement with Walmart.