Friday, August 10, 2007

Haymarket Could See 300 Million Dollar Development

The University of Louisville took two huge leaps forward last week in their bid to build a state of the art urban medical research park in downtown. Officials at UofL announced they were diving head first into plans to convert two blocks on the eastern fringe of downtown into a bustling research and business incubator with the help of Maryland based developer Wexford Science + Technology. Estimates put the full build-out of the project at 300 million dollars.

The Haymarket has been on hold for several years, and it has only been in the last few months that the university has revived the project. Current plans call for over 1 million square feet of space in several mid-rise buildings, but those numbers are not yet finalized. The center will offer research space to university scientists and space for small medical start-up companies that will collaborate with researchers.

UofL owns the majority of the land needed for the project, but is now entering into negotiations for the final few parcels that remain. All other land owners have expressed their willingness to sell their land quickly, and the James Graham Brown Foundations will be picking up the tab for the school.

Besides just making the plans, the university has also been working behind the scenes to get the needed funding mechanisms in place. On Monday city and state officials announced plans to create a TIF district in the Louisville Medical District to help fund 300 million dollars in public infrastructure. Several parking garages will be constructed, along with public green spaces and other improvements to the area. In addition to the TIF funding, the State of Kentucky has said it would spend 3 million dollars to help lure and retain businesses inside the new Haymarket medical park.
State officials estimate that the Haymarket project will generate up to 2.5 billion dollars in direct and spin-off investments and will lead to an increase of nearly 9,000 jobs, only 2,200 of which will be in the Haymarket site itself. State officials are expecting that UofL will make good on their plans to not only develop the Haymarket site, but to continue improving their offerings in the medical district.

The Louisville Metro Council is expected to approve the TIF funding this month making the Haymarket project the second “signature” project in Louisville that is capable of receiving the increased tax revenue under new Kentucky regulations.

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