Veterans Admin. still has to buy land for new VA hospital - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Veterans Admin. still has to buy land for new VA hospital

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Louisville, KY (WDRB) -- The Veterans Administration has chosen where it wants to put a new VA hospital in Louisville, and local businesses are excited.

Dust is flying as construction crews work on a slip ramp off of the Watterson Expressway. It will let drivers bypass the intersection of Brownsboro Road and I-264. The government obtained the land from Blue Equity as part of eminent domain.

Now, Blue Equity's other section of this land called The Midlands property has been chosen by the Veteran's Administration as the new site for a VA Hospital replacing this 60-year-old facility off of Zorn Avenue. 

Bob Gunnell, a spokesman for Blue Equity, LLC says, "We are anticipating a fairly quick closing. We have not seen the final appraisal for the property. But, according to the contract that's what the VA pays for the property, that's all they pay for is whatever the appraised value is of the property."

After the closing, the VA could start construction soon, possibly by this year.

Blue Equity says a new VA Medical Center at that location will serve the veterans well and will help bolster the local economy. Local businesses like Impellizzeri's Pizza agree. Located across the street from the site, the owner says once construction starts, it's expecting to see more construction workers for lunch and dinner.  And to top it off, the pizza restaurant expects business to increase once the hospital is open.

But some neighbors are concerned that the new hospital will lead to increased traffic and a drop in their home values.  Resident John Lepping says, "I'm not going to say it's going be destroyed by addition of Veteran's Hospital, but there are some projections that it actually could affect property values as much as 30-40%"

Gunnell says, "Traffic congestion will be less." He anticipates it will be 25 percent less than if the original plan of a mixed use property was located there. Developers were planning to build a hotel, shopping, and restaurants, but that plan will no longer happen since the VA is buying the land.

The new hospital is expected to cost an estimated $883.2 million. It will have clinics specializing in primary care, surgery, and mental health and 110 inpatient beds.  Construction is expected to be finished by 2018.

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