LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Monday that Walmart will build a Supercenter at 18th and Broadway.
That's according to a news release from the Mayor's Office.
The investment of more than $25 million, with the potential for more related development, is the largest economic development project in Western Louisville in at least a decade.
"This is an important announcement for our entire city and particularly for West Louisville because it brings jobs, retail and a significant investment to the California, Russell, Portland, Shawnee and Chickasaw neighborhoods," Fischer said. "Just as important – this project sends a signal that West Louisville is indeed open for business."
The project will create 300 jobs in the Walmart store, with $6 million in annual payroll. Additional jobs will be created with the project's construction. Fischer said Walmart is committed to hiring local citizens and the company will be opening a jobs and career center in the neighborhood to accept applications.
The Supercenter will have 150,000 square feet of retail and grocery space – nearly the size of three football fields -- and will include an optometrist and pharmacy. Fischer said the announcement follows more than a year of work and negotiations.
"The entire city government team, from economic development to our planning staff to the Metro Council, has worked hundreds of hours on this project," Fischer said. "From the first moments after I announced I was running for Mayor until as late as yesterday, people have stopped me to stress the need for new business, new jobs and new retail for Western Louisville. My team is proud that we can deliver."
The Mayor praised the vision and persistence of the project developers, Teresa and Frank Bridgewaters, owners of New Bridge Crossings. The Bridgewaters purchased the site from the city for $1 about a decade ago when it was a number of large vacant buildings that housed the former Phillip Morris factory. More recently, they worked with the city to acquire six additional parcels of land that were critical for Walmart to consider the location.
Fischer said the city's investment in the project is primarily the $1.8 million to buy those six lots. Of that, $1.1 million was spent in 2013, with the remaining amount to be spent in the city fiscal year that starts July 1. In addition, the city is providing a $500,000 grant to Walmart, to be paid $100,000 a year for five years, if Walmart meets a threshold of at least 225 new jobs.
"This is an excellent return on investment for our citizens," he said. Fischer said the Walmart development will add to existing activity and energy in the neighborhood which includes a new YMCA across 18th Street, in addition to investments that neighbor Brown-Forman continues to make in its headquarters campus. "I hope that this investment at this critical intersection at 18th and Broadway sends a loud message to other potential investors," Fischer said.
There will be two out lots that will be retained by New Bridge Crossings for other potential future development, which is anticipated based on the experience with other Walmart Super centers.
Walmart plans to include a number of environmentally-friendly features, including:
In addition, from an urban design perspective, 40% of the parking will be on the western side of the building. Fischer also praised Metro Councilmembers, who were key in helping complete the deal, and he thanked them for their patience as the administration negotiated the agreement with Walmart.
Those councilmembers released the following statements:
"18th and Broadway now joins a growing list of locations located in the Fourth Metro Council District that are in the process of transforming our city. The Yum Center, Liberty Green, Sheppard Square and Nulu have had a major impact on the eastern portion of my district. 18th and Broadway will soon begin a commercial and residential redevelopment effort that will further our goal of locating and expanding businesses in West Louisville in general and the Russell neighborhood more specifically. This project shows how every area of our city is critical to Metro Louisville's overall economic vitality."
Councilman David Tandy (D-4)
"I am glad to be involved in helping move this project forward. It was stalled for some time and we on the Metro Council, working together with the developers and the administration, have opened the door to the potential of hundreds of jobs in West Louisville. I am proud to be a part of this achievement."
Councilwoman Mary C. Woolridge (D-3)
"West Louisville is on the move. This exciting major retail announcement is just the latest in a series of economic revitalization efforts already underway in Portland, on West Market Street and the Shawnee Neighborhood. I want to thank my colleagues on the Council for their support and dedication to make this project a priority. My thanks also goes to the Fischer administration for realizing how important this project is to West Louisville. By working with us, this project became a reality. West Louisville's future is looking bright and we stand ready to ensure this progress continues."
Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5)
"I want to commend the members of the Metro Council who tirelessly worked with the Mayor and the Bridgewaters to find a way to jump start this project. We would not be here today were it not for their help. This project will be transformative to West Louisville by creating much needed local jobs and redeveloping a blighted area."
President Jim King (D-10)
"This project shows how the Metro Council is a viable partner in economic development in all areas of our city. I am glad to see one of the largest vacant properties in our city being developed into something that can create jobs and lead to more west end community growth."
Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin (D-2)
"This announcement is welcome news for many neighborhoods in West Louisville. Now, the drive or walk will not be so long when shopping, if you are in the Russell or California Neighborhoods. But more importantly, who knows what other kinds of retail and economic development will follow."
Councilman David James (D-6)
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