The community driven transformation of the historic Russell neighborhood in Louisville, KY is well underway. Louisville Metro Government has been tracking over $550 million in private and public investment in Russell, made possible by collaboration between local government, non-profit organizations, corporations, small businesses, community action groups and neighbors. Completed and ongoing projects include small business incubators, health and wellness facilities, affordable housing, restaurants, street improvements, and public art.
The list below represents some of the largest initiatives happening in Russell, all of which address goals developed as part of the Russell Transformation Plan. For a comprehensive list of investments in the Russell Neighborhood and in West Louisville, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/west-louisville-strategies-success. Resources available from Louisville Forward include a map of completed and ongoing projects.
Major Investments in the Neighborhood
In August 2018, Louisville Metro Government, Cities United and the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust partnered to launch Russell: A Place of Promise, an initiative co-created with and accountable to Russell residents and stakeholders, and designed to be a national model for equitable development in Black communities. The initiative will connect Russell residents and businesses that have been the backbone of the neighborhood with opportunities to build long-term individual and community wealth so that planned and underway new investment creating a renaissance in Russell does not result in their involuntary displacement. Funded through an initial $5 million seed grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, and supplemented with funds from JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Cities program, technical assistance from Arcadis, an international engineering and professional services company, and funds to develop owner-occupied housing from Louisville Metro Government and partner organization Park Community Credit Union, this initiative aims to create owner-occupied housing and other residential wealth-building models, new jobs, business opportunities, new community gathering spots, and opportunities for mobility, wealth creation, and whole-community health.
In June 2018, the Louisville Urban League announced plans to develop a $35 million world class indoor track and field facility on the Heritage West site. The Norton Sports Health Athletics & Learning Complex will be a keystone of West Louisville’s changing landscape. The project is centered on a world-class track and field facility, spurring economic and community growth for Black businesses and families, creating an accessible and affordable health and wellness facility, and transforming toxic brownfields and abandoned properties into green spaces, homes, and thriving local businesses.
Louisville Metro has selected a multi-disciplinary consultant team to conduct the Broadway Master Plan the corridor, as envisioned by the city’s long-range transportation plan “Move Louisville,” from its existing auto-centric form into a multi-modal complete street designed to enable safe, convenient, and efficient access with a focus on premium transit that will serve as a catalyst for economic development. Move Louisville identifies Broadway as one of its 16 priority projects and recommends a complete street retrofit of the corridor. The entire length of Broadway (about six miles) from Shawnee Park to Baxter Avenue will be studied. The objectives for the Broadway master plan are to build upon the five guiding CHASE principles (Connected, Healthy, Authentic, Sustainable, Equitable) established as the framework for Plan 2040, the city’s comprehensive plan.
After a series of community engagement events and stakeholder meetings, Louisville Metro Government, working in concert with consultant Gehl Architects since 2017, has completed a draft plan to reimagine 9th Street from the Ohio River to Broadway. Reimagining the corridor aims to implement goals of Vision Louisville, to pursue a MOVE Louisville priority project and to create an attractive, vibrant, and safe connection between West Louisville and downtown. The draft plan is available at: https://louisvilleky.gov/sites/default/files/advanced_planning/180523_louisville_9th_street_corridor_-_full_presentation.pdf
The aim of the 18th Street Corridor Redevelopment project, led by Louisville Metro Government’s “Louisville Forward” office, is to implement block by block improvements along and nearby 18th Street. This includes façade improvements to owner-occupied homes and rental units, vacant lot acquisitions, and rehabilitation / repurposing of vacant properties for commercial use. The goals of the project are to increase home values, attract new residents to home ownership opportunities and improved rental units, and spur economic growth through creation of usable commercial space along this key neighborhood corridor. The 18th Street Corridor Redevelopment project is receiving CNI Critical Community Improvement funds, along with additional public and private investment dollars.
In February 2019, OneWest purchased a block of properties at 18th and West Broadway consisting of nine buildings and adjacent properties. Currently known as the Goldsmith Centre, the investment consists of 29,000 SF, with ten tenants on 15 separate parcels. The goal of this investment is to support existing small businesses and generate sustainable economic development in the West End. OneWest also recently purchased a vacant single-family home at 516 S. 18th Street in Russell and will pursue rezoning and renovating the space for commercial use as a small business incubator.
The Republic Bank Foundation YMCA is a $28 million, state-of-the-art health and wellness facility located at 1720 W. Broadway. The new YMCA features a 25-meter swimming lap/family pool, gymnasium, classrooms, modern locker rooms, an indoor track and a Kid’s Club that provides childcare while members exercise.
In late 2018, 1619 Flux acquired and began rehabbing the mostly vacant Carnegie Library at 1718 W. Jefferson Street into a workspace for the public. The 6,000 SF building will serve as a state-of-the-art, wraparound co-working space for entrepreneurs and developers to build capacity, collaborate, and obtain development and operational support. While ideas for the space are still being refined, work on the building is underway and expected to be complete in 2020.
Louisville Central Community Center is continuing renovations within its Old Walnut campus at 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard including completing leasehold spaces within its Business Center. LCCC’s campus now includes a commercial kitchen and restaurant space, which is being leased by Dasha Barbour of Southern Bistro. LCCC continues to operate its Gigabit Center, which provides super-fast Wi-Fi to tenants and visitors, and broke ground in February 2019 on its new 350-seat Grand Lyric theatre. http://www.lcccnews.org/
Construction on The Village at West Jefferson, a 30,000 SF commercial investment led by Molo Village CDC, is well underway and expected to be complete in early 2021. This new commercial development is located at W. Jefferson and 12th streets, directly across Beecher Terrace and adjacent to St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. The project will bring commercial and supportive services to Beecher Terrace residents and the East Russell area.
Chef Space is a 13,000 SF food business accelerator located at 1812 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. that provides commercial kitchen space and business training for entrepreneurs to start food‐related ventures. Founded in 2015, Chef Space has helped to launch over 65 entrepreneurial, food-related businesses; create 400 new part- and full-time jobs; and has graduated 12 businesses to Louisville brick and mortar locations.
Community Ventures (CV) is building 25 new homes in West Louisville. The development is part of a larger plan to revitalize the Russell neighborhood. This plan will reduce the area’s vacant lots and increase the area’s homeownership rate. The Cedar Street Development is adjacent to CV’s kitchen incubator, Chef Space, a shared kitchen for food entrepreneurs. By addressing the need for businesses, jobs, and housing, Community Ventures is creating a sense of place for area residents. For more information, contact the CV Housing President, Marshall Crawford (800) 299-0267.
Source: 2009-13 American Community Survey 5-year estimate for Russell, West Louisville and Louisville Metro/County; LMHA Resident Profile and CNI Resident Profile and CNI Resident Survey for Beecher Terrace