Who might want to live in downtown Louisville? - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Who might want to live in downtown Louisville?

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WDRB) -- Trying to get more people to make downtown home is a top priority for Louisville officials right now.

New research to prompt input for a new downtown master plan shows who they're targeting - and it doesn't include young families.

They have to appeal to those who want to downsize, yet live close to amenities.

Neill Robertson may be the ideal person for living in downtown Louisville.

"There's a really new, exciting sort of energy to this part of Louisville. I want to tap into that," Robertson said.

He works in nearby NuLu and in downtown theatres -- and as a former New York city resident, he likes the urban feel of a condo on East Market Street.

"This neighborhood, in particular, is changing so quickly. With all of the new restaurants and shops in this area, if there's a time to cash in on this part of Louisville, now is the time to do that," Robertson said.

Monday, he took his second tour of the new Falls City Lofts, now under construction.

Developer Jeff Sleadd says six of his 17 units are under contract -- and he hopes to fill the building in two years, instead of three, at $200-to $500,000 each.

It's a former Bacon's department store, built in the mid-1800s.

Downtown Development Corporation research made public last week shows downtown housing in the next ten years or so should appeal to more seniors, more singles, with smaller families who want to live in smaller spaces.  Empty nesters who want to downsize, as one example.

"(It's) probably from an age demographic of 25 to 40. We are also seeing some empty nesters in terms of people that are retired and second homes. We also see medical students that also have some interest," Sleadd said.

A potential new plan for downtown development calls for housing to expand far beyond the 640 units added from 2000 to 2012.  It's one area in which Louisville has lagged behind comparable downtowns across the country.

One persistent complaint from potential buyers -- lack of a grocery store nearby. 

"We explain where the grocery stores are they have access to, but it is an objection you have to overcome," Sleadd said.

Robertson noted grocery stores within easy driving distance in Old Louisville, the south end and other neighborhoods.

"I'm willing to get on the expressway and go to Fresh Market or go to Krogers," he said. 

"Naturally, the next step is we're going to see a big boom as far as the residential life in NuLu and downtown Louisville. It's going to be a lot of people coming in. That's what I want. I don't think it's detached or inaccessible in any way," Robertson said.

Planners also say downtown residents want to walk to any amenities -- but they won't tolerate more than a five-minute walk from home.

The demographics come from Downtown Development Corporation research.

It also finds roughly half of people living downtown would not work there, and almost one-third would move from out of town.

Link to the data through www.engagelouisville.com

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