The empty buildings and vacant lots that line the streets of west Louisville could be part of its future success story.
“Just within the Russell neighborhood alone, we have about 1,400 vacant lots or structures,” said Scott Love with Louisville Forward.
The city is trying to fill those gaps, so officials drove a TARC bus full of small business owners and non-profit leaders through west end neighborhoods Wednesday.
The tour started out down west Broadway and showed off more than a dozen up-and-coming development projects like the site of the future west Louisville YMCA and Passport Health Plan property. The tour guide said the buildings across the street could make a great location for a restaurant or a coffee shop.
“I was looking at property,” Lynn Dunbar said. “You can't beat the prices down here.”
Dunbar is one of the entrepreneurs on the bus. She owns an art studio in Germantown, but she said she would consider moving.
“There are a lot of good people who need jobs, and there are a lot of good locations and a lot of people who live around her,” she said.
The tour ran in a loop down Broadway to 30th Street, to Market Street and back to Broadway. It stopped at places like Heritage West and Chef Space to show the potential for business.
“West Louisville now is approximately 66,000 residents, approximately the size of Owensboro,” Love said.
Although west Louisville is a densely populated area of the city, officials say there's only one full-service, sit-down restaurant. Coffee shops and grocery stores are limited. Retail, like clothing and jewelry stores, are almost nonexistent. There are plenty of incentives and low-interest loans available to bring business there. A list of the loans are featured in the images below:
“We do have a special $200,000 fund aimed at the Russel neighborhood,” Love said.
Other loans can also be utilized in hopes that one day west Louisville will grow to its full potential.
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