University of Louisville Foundation selects NTS for more real es - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Louisville Foundation selects NTS for more real estate work

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NTS chairman J.D. Nichols NTS chairman J.D. Nichols
Conceptual rendering of the Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Research Park Conceptual rendering of the Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Research Park

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  The University of Louisville Foundation on Tuesday selected NTS Development Co. as its real estate “development partner” for the university’s three research/office parks.

The move is not surprising given that NTS and the foundation are already in business as the joint owners of three gleaming new office buildings at 500, 600 and 700 N. Hurstbourne Parkway in one of U of L’s research parks, called ShelbyHurst.

And, U of L’s downtown research park --  the J.D. Nichols Campus for Innovation and Entrepreneurship -- is named after NTS chairman J.D. Nichols, who has pledged $10 million to the foundation.

Nichols also famously offered earlier this year to personally fund the foundation's incentive pay for U of L President Jim Ramsey – which had nothing to do with NTS’ selection for more work with the U of L foundation, both Ramsey and Nichols said on Tuesday.

The move means that NTS will continue constructing buildings on U of L’s research parks.

For example, Nichols said NTS is planning a hotel/conference center, restaurants and maybe even fast food or bank branches at ShelbyHurst, which is massive piece of state land dedicated to U of L at Hurstbourne Parkway and Shelbyville Road.

NTS also owns 20 percent of the parking garage that just went up at the downtown research park and is the leasing agent for the new Nucleus building at 300 E. Market Street.

Still, the foundation’s executive committee on Tuesday had to decide between NTS and one other developer who responded to a Request for Qualifications – Louisville’s Jefferson Development Group.

The foundation did not approve any new financial arrangements with NTS, which are to be worked out later.

Ramsey said in an interview that NTS will likely continue getting equity in the buildings its develops with the foundation.

“We want a partner. We want somebody who’s got the same fire and drive in the belly to make money to support our teaching and research mission,” Ramsey said.

At ShelbyHurst, the foundation owns 51 percent – and NTS 49 percent – of the new office buildings, which command perhaps the highest rents in Louisville. Tenants include the corporate headquarters of Churchill Downs and Steel Technologies.

And U of L and its foundation are just beginning to plan construction on an empty, 40-acre tract behind the J.B. Speed School of Engineering as the Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Research Park.

The hope is that companies with engineering, manufacturing, science or computer-related focuses will locate in the park and establish close connections with students and faculty.

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In the meeting, Ramsey said U of L’s strategy is to take “under-performing assets” like the massive Shelby Campus and generate new revenue for the foundation, which in turn supports U of L’s mission.

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