LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After years of planning, developer Kevin Cogan's ambitious and controversial One Park proposal took a major step forward on Thursday with a unanimous endorsement by the Louisville Metro Planning Commission, a mayoral-appointed body that reviews development projects.
The elected Metro Council will soon make the final decision on a zoning change to accommodate the $250 million development at Grinstead Drive and Lexington Road, which would be 18 stories at its tallest point.
One Park will have 421 residential units, a hotel with 250 rooms, office space and ground-level retail and restaurants, including perhaps a small grocery store.
Opponents have said its scale is out of character with the mostly residential area, while supporters call it the type of ambitious development that is more typical in faster-growing cities like Nashville.
Greater Louisville Inc., the chamber of commerce, applauded the planning commission's vote to recommend the project.
"Projects like One Park do not come along often. As a community, we must have the foresight to take advantage of these opportunities," GLI chief operating officer Sarah Davasher-Wisdom said in a statement.
Cogan's Jefferson Development Group agreed to rent or sell 5% of the project's residential units -- about 21 -- according to "affordable housing" guidelines. Bill Bardenwerper, the lawyer for One Park, said Cogan would be willing to double the affordable housing units if Metro government subsidizes the project through a tax-increment financing district.
The irregularly shaped area between Lexington, Grinstead and Etley Avenue is currently home to a hodge-podge of businesses that would be torn down and replaced by the high-rise.
"I have driven by this particular property a billion times – it’s always been terrible and no one seemed to do anything about it," said Bob Osborne, who has lived in the nearby Cherokee Triangle since 1972.
Steve Porter, an attorney who represents opponents of the project, said Thursday's move by the planning commission was expected.
Porter, who has waged legal battles against the planned TopGolf at Oxmoor Center and other high-profile developments, wouldn't rule out action against the One Park project.
“We will wait and see what Metro Council decides and make any decisions from there,” he said.