Implementation Downtown Strategy Tracking

An Ambitious Vision and Strategy

The Louisville Downtown Partnership has outlined an ambitious vision and strategy to revitalize and enhance Downtown Louisville through targeted investments, policy initiatives, and redevelopment projects. This page tracks the implementation progress of the key elements of the Downtown Strategy, including catalytic development projects, residential growth, mobility and connectivity improvements, activation of public spaces, and district-specific enhancements. By monitoring the execution of these critical initiatives, we aim to ensure steady progress is made in creating a more vibrant, livable, and economically thriving Downtown Louisville for residents, workers, and visitors to enjoy.

Enhancing the Public Realm

A major focus of the Downtown Strategy is to enhance the public realm and create a more inviting, pedestrian-friendly environment throughout Downtown Louisville. Key initiatives include accelerating the repair and maintenance of downtown infrastructure, redesigning major thoroughfares like West Market Street to prioritize pedestrians, and converting one-way streets to two-way traffic. The strategy also calls for developing a coordinated improvement program for public and private open spaces, undertaking a bold redesign of the Belvedere as the “crown jewel” of the Open Space Network, and implementing unique signature streetscape programs to better connect key nodes of activity. By transforming the public realm, Downtown Louisville will become a more walkable, vibrant, and attractive place for people to spend time.

Reinforcing Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood and Activating Downtown Life

The Downtown Strategy recognizes the critical importance of growing Downtown Louisville’s residential population to support a more thriving, 24/7 urban environment. Key residential initiatives include incentivizing and investing in office-to-residential conversions, proactively assembling properties for “missing middle” housing developments, collaborating with property owners on targeted residential redevelopment programs, and streamlining zoning and land use regulations to prioritize residential growth. Simultaneously, the strategy focuses on activating downtown life through encouraging more outdoor dining, creating more neighborhood-oriented open spaces, bringing arts and music into the public realm, and establishing new anchors and attractions like a “Louisville Creativity Center.” By combining residential growth with activation and programming, Downtown Louisville will be well-positioned to become a more complete, around-the-clock urban neighborhood.

Action Item Status

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Last Updated: March 7, 2024

Description Priority Assigned To Status Completed Date Notes/Major Category Public/Private
Establish a Downtown Investment Fund to catalyze high-priority development initiatives with a greater degree of flexibility than traditional incentive programs, and to invest in “pilot” projects. Privately raised equity investment augmented by public funds. Activate Downtown PRI
Catalyze the development of underutilized Metro Louisville properties in downtown districts lacking activity-generating anchors. Activate Downtown PUB
Prioritize new activity-generating anchors in downtown’s less robust districts. Activate Downtown PPP
Recognize a “Greater Downtown” approach – broader than a Central Business District; highlight the character of each downtown district and prioritize connectivity between them through pedestrian, bicycle and transit enhancements; and establish a common nomenclature for downtown identity and promotional efforts. Activate Downtown PPP
Strengthen LOUMED as downtown's major economic development driver. Activate Downtown PPP
Highlight and support the University of Louisville’s “Four Corners” expanding downtown presence; enhance pedestrian connections between and among these nodes; develop the 515 West Market Building as the downtown campus anchor; strengthen transit connections between the Belknap and downtown campuses. Activate Downtown PUB
Promote and support the emerging downtown Education Corridor, with emphasis on improved safety and security. Activate Downtown PPP
Activate Muhammad Ali Boulevard from 5th Street west to 18th Street through the Old Walnut Street Corridor Plan, celebrating its rich heritage as the African-American community’s music and entertainment hub. Activate Downtown PPP
Establish a “Louisville Creativity Center” downtown that highlights and celebrates the “buzz” around local innovations in bourbon, food, music, and design. Activate Downtown PPP
Highlight downtown arts and entertainment anchors, and incentivize bringing arts and music into the public realm on a regular basis. Activate Downtown PPP
Support the redevelopment of Louisville Gardens as a hub for new, creative uses. Activate Downtown PUB
Encourage and incentivize non-traditional indoor/outdoor uses in downtown, including film venues, music, family entertainment, and recreation. Activate Downtown PPP
Revise the Arena TIF to provide additional incentives to downtown projects that are within the Arena TIF boundaries but currently excluded from its benefits. Activate Downtown PUB
Revisit long-term transit from the south (Airport, KFEC, UofL, Spalding, Simmons, etc.) to downtown Louisville, including light rail/bus rapid transit. Activate Downtown PUB
Invest in high-priority residential conversions, utilizing local or state capital infusions, the Downtown Investment Fund, and a recapitalized Downtown Housing Fund—particularly those conversions offering a range of affordability. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PPP
Assist with needed ancillary improvements such as parking, streetscape enhancements, and alley closures. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PUB
Secure special property tax relief legislation for office-to-residential conversions, including reduced assessments and/or property tax moratoria. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PUB
Provide grants and technical assistance to property owners who wish to investigate potential conversions. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PPP
Advocate for prioritization—and streamlining of the regulatory review process—of the State Historic Tax Credit Program for office-to-residential conversions. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PUB
Proactively assemble properties for "missing middle" neighborhood housing developments. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PPP
Invest in pilot residential developments in targeted areas: SoBro, Russell/Shippingport, and east downtown. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PPP
Ensure that Louisville Metro property redevelopment plans include residential components. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PPP
Streamline zoning and land use regulations to prioritize and expedite residential development, including revisions to the Land Development Code that specifically encourage the development of “missing middle housing.” Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PUB
Collaborate with property owners in the Butchertown/East Main Street area on redevelopment programs to create new residential clusters on undeveloped parcels. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PPP
Expand assistance offered for office-to-residential conversions to include the development of surface parking lots with a strong residential component. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PUB
Investigate property valuation assessment policy changes designed to catalyze vacant property redevelopment. Reinforce Downtown as a Residential Neighborhood PUB
Accelerate repair and maintenance of downtown infrastructure, including sidewalks, streetlights, benches, and trash receptacles. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Prioritize the redesign of West Market Street in conjunction with Louisville Metro property redevelopment and the Open Space Network program. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Establish as Louisville Metro policy a commitment to the transformation of downtown’s streets prioritized for pedestrians. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Implement a 10-year funding program for major street improvements and pedestrian enhancements, including a continuous bicycle network through downtown. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Reduce vehicular travel lanes on major east-west streets like Market, Main, Jefferson, and Chestnut. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Convert Market and Jefferson Streets from one-way to two-way traffic. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Accelerate two-way conversions of north-south streets. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Reduce travel lanes/expand sidewalks on 5th and 6th Streets. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Implement transformation of the 100 block of Washington Street into the pedestrian and entertainment-focused “Whiskey Alley”. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Add pedestrian-oriented lighting, colors, banners, and “gateway” visual elements from 3rd to 9th Streets. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Create enhanced and welcoming pedestrian crossings at 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Streets. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Add bright and decorative lighting. Enhance the Public Realm PRI
Improve sidewalks and streetscape elements on both sides of the underpass. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Install wayfinding signage. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Develop a coordinated improvement program for public and private open spaces between 4th and 6th Streets, including Founders Square, Garvin Brown Garden, Cathedral Alley, Courthouse Square, the KCA steps, Muhammad Ali Plaza, PNC Park, and Aegon Plaza. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Undertake a bold redesign and reprogramming of the Belvedere, in coordination with and as the “crown jewel” of the Open Space Network. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Develop and implement a unique signature streetscape program along 4th and 5th Streets, connecting nodes of the Open Space network.(Metro FY22) Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Convene a group of key stakeholders—including those involved in the Breonna Taylor protests and the public safety community—to collaboratively discuss and determine the most appropriate redesign of Jefferson Square, given the significance of the space for both groups. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Capitalize on and continue progress made under the CitySpots initiative. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Create a Public Art Trail within the network of open spaces and consider a public artist Creative Corps program, similar to the Louisville Orchestra program for music. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Encourage more food, drink, and music opportunities in open spaces, including pop-ups and food trucks. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Complement the police headquarters relocation by redesigning the park fronting the new police headquarters on Chestnut Street between 6th and 7th Streets. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Transform the former Louisville Metro correctional facility on Chestnut Street into a new LOUMED central Green. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Implement the proposed public realm network enhancement program within LOUMED, including Chestnut Street, Brook Street, and Abraham Flexner Way. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Provide signature entranceways at Brook/Chestnut Street and at Preston Street/Muhammad Ali Boulevard. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Refresh the western portion of Waterfront Park - including Festival Plaza and the water feature - and improve connections south via 1st, Brook, and Floyd Streets; consider relocating riverboats to this area. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Develop the Waterfront Development Corporation properties south of Witherspoon Street. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Encourage more commercial development adjacent to Waterfront Park along River Road. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Prioritize improved connectivity between downtown and the Ohio River in the River Road extension and Belvedere redesign plans. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Enhance connections to both downtown and the Russell/Portland neighborhoods as part of the West Waterfront Park expansion, including improvements from Market Street to the Park along 10th through 13th streets. Consider implementing a mural program along the Rowan Street flood wall. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Prioritize a pedestrian bridge over the rail tracks at 15th Street to facilitate a neighborhood connection and spur residential development in Portland and Shippingport. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Provide a pedestrian connection between Washington Street and 10th Street. Enhance the Public Realm PUB
Streamline downtown outdoor dining regulations to encourage more outdoor dining opportunities; utilize the Downtown Commercial Loan Fund to subsidize new or improved outdoor dining facilities. Enhance the Public Realm PPP
Develop more neighborhood-oriented open spaces in the SoBro area, including the redesign of Library Plaza, Memorial Park, and Ben Washer Park. Enhance the Public Realm PUB