Under-used site near University of Louisville to get new life

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  A New Jersey developer plans to build a 10-story student housing building off S. 4th Street near the University of Louisville.

The proposed high rise would include two parking garage floors beneath eight stories of apartments, according to plans filed Monday with Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services.

The property at 2420 S. 4th Street  -- at the intersection with Industry Road -- is currently a vacant building that used to house a grocery store and was later a nightclub.

It is across 4th Street from the student housing building formerly known as the Grove and now called the Arch.

The developers are Brian Rosen and Jared Hutter of Aptitude Development LLC in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. The company, which calls itself a "niche" firm specializing in student housing, has one project open and another underway near Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, according to its website.

The Louisville high-rise would include 232 apartments, according to planning records.

Aptitude Development plans to open the building for the start of the 2020 academic year, Hutter said in an interview. Their preliminary budget is $35 million to $40 million, he said.  

There have been at least six other privately financed student housing complexes built on or near U of L's Belknap campus in the last decade.

Hutter said the rash of student housing development reflects how U of L -- once thought of as a commuter school -- is catching up to other colleges in campus living space.

"The glut of student housing that was built, it because there was nothing around there," he said.

He said his company has no concerns about finding tenants for the apartments.

"I think the university is doing a very good job of trying to grow, and we will be the new guy on the block," Hutter said. "We are not looking to disrupt the market; we are looking to add to it."

U of L interim President Greg Postel said earlier this year that U of L could address financial challenges by growing to about 30,000 students, from about 22,000 currently, over a number of years.  

Hutter said his company looks for urban sites rather than plopping a "box" development on a greenfield.

"This kind of fits our mold; the kids will be able to walk to campus," he said. "Within 5 minutes, you are in the middle of campus."

Aptitude hasn't decided whether the building will have a pool -- a staple of the other new student apartment complexes. But Hutter said the top floor will include a 1,000-square-foot outdoor terrace with views of Churchill Downs and Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, as well as 9,000 square feet of indoor "amenity" space.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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Chris Otts reports for WDRB.com about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and cotts@wdrb.com.