Should be completed in 2018
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 24, 2016) — Mayor Greg Fischer and the nonprofit Seed Capital Kentucky on Wednesday signed a development agreement that officially makes way for work to begin on the $56 million West Louisville FoodPort at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard in the Russell neighborhood.
FoodPort is expected to result in 350 new jobs—150 temporary construction jobs, plus 200 permanent jobs. In addition, businesses relocating there in the first phase will bring another 60 existing jobs.
Fischer said the FoodPort—dedicated to the growing, aggregation, distribution, processing and storage of locally and regionally produced food—will revitalize a long-neglected block of land in West Louisville, while creating jobs for people who live nearby, enhancing Louisville’s tax base and resulting in architecturally significant buildings and spaces for active and passive recreation.
“This will be a one-stop place where consumers and food producers can meet,” Fischer said. “It’s a green, job-creation project.”
The $56 million project involves a $31 million first phase of construction, including $2.7 million that Seed Capital already has invested on site design, an environmental assessment, and hiring a team of architects, engineers and landscape designers to plan the project, which is receiving national and international acclaim. The total also includes the value of the land ($1.57 million, according to the PVA), and a $23.5 million investment by FarmedHere, the country’s largest and longest-running vertical farm, which plans a year-round indoor farm and food processing facility there. With Metro Council approval, the city also will spend $350,000 on new sidewalks around the project site.
In partnership with the Louisville Urban League, Seed Capital is developing a strategy to hire as many people from the surrounding neighborhoods as possible. This includes an early opportunity for construction jobs. At least 20 percent of the contractors on the project will be minority; and 5 percent will be female. A FoodPort job fair for the construction jobs is planned from 1-3 p.m. April 26 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
Under terms of the development agreement, FoodPort construction must begin by the end of 2016, with completion by May 2018. Seed Capital has said work will begin by October.
Seed Capital also has established a Community Council made up of more than 100 residents of the neighborhood and community at large, which has met regularly since January 2015 to identify benefits that outline its commitment to serve the neighborhoods around the project
Louisville Metro Government is making way for the project by deeding the property to Seed Capital for $1. The city’s total investment, $1.57 million in land and $350,000 in sidewalk improvements, is leveraged multiple times over in the $56 million project, making this a wise use of taxpayer resources, Fischer said.
In addition to hiring and other restrictions in the development agreement, the deed requires that Seed Capital obtain financing to complete the $31 million first phase of the project—site development and building construction—by September 2017, or see ownership of the land automatically reverted back to the city.