City planners take softer stance on new Kindred building in fina - WDRB 41 Louisville News

City planners take softer stance on new Kindred building in final version of report

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Rendering of new Kindred building and public plaza Rendering of new Kindred building and public plaza
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro government's professional planners have softened their stance on the location of a six-story office building proposed by Kindred Healthcare for S. 4th Street.

Last week, the Metro planning staff said in a report that Kindred's placement of the new building -- about 80 feet back from S. 4th Street behind a public plaza -- would set a bad precedent for downtown, where buildings are supposed to be built right up against the sidewalk.

The report was published on the city website Thursday, March 5 along with the agenda for Wednesday's meeting of the Downtown Development Review Overlay committee.

But the report was in fact a draft and had not been finalized, said Jessica Wethington, spokeswoman for the city's planning and design staff, on Friday, March 6, after WDRB published a story on the findings.

The final version of the report, released late Friday afternoon, still notes the Kindred plan will result in the loss of about 89 feet of the “street wall” along S. 4th.

But it no longer says the plan amounts to “a suburban design … in an urban environment” or risks leading to “further opportunities to deteriorate the urban environment.”

The final report also adds language noting that more green space is needed in the urban core, as called for in Louisville's downtown master plan.

“A well designed and detailed Kindred Plaza will offset the loss of street wall and could serve as a valuable public open space,” the final version says.

The report is signed by Bob Keesaer, the city's urban design administrator, and Burcum Keeton, architectural projects coordinator.

The Downtown Development Review Overlay committee will take up the plan at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of the Old Jail building, 514 W. Liberty Street.

The panel can approve the plan as is, require conditions for approval or reject the plan, Wethington said. One of the conditions suggested by the planning staff is that Kindred retain "the front portion" of the building that currently houses Bluegrass Brewing Co. to avoid the loss of some "street wall" along S. 4th. 

Besides approval from the overlay committee, the Kindred plan is also set to get an administrative review by the Louisville Metro Planning Commission, Wethington said. No Metro Council approval is needed, she said.

The $36 million building is part of Kindred's plan to expand its Louisville headquarters and add about 500 jobs over the next few years.

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