Planners OK bid to overhaul office space

Louisville’s Planning Commission on Thursday approved Boulder Creek Neighborhoods’ plans to overhaul its Main Street office space — a three-story development likely to reshape a portion of the city’s downtown corridor. The proposal — a glass-heavy, 26,000-square-foot building with room for retail and restaurant space at the bottom, as well as an additional 11,000-square-foot parking garage with 32 underground spaces — is slated to go in front of City Council members later this year for final approval. The board approved the plans by a 5-1 vote; Commissioner Jeff Moline was the sole “no” vote. The building would include one story on the south side of the company’s 712 and 722 Main St. residence, two stories on the north side and a third story that’s set back roughly 49 feet from Main Street, according to city records. The development would also be one of the few buildings above two stories along the city’s growing old town, requiring special considerations from city officials throughout the approval process. “There’s a lot of policies surrounding if a (building of this height) is appropriate,” Louisville Principal Planner Kristin Dean said at Thursday’s meeting, adding that the “buildingwould contribute to varied building heights downtown.” The existing two, one-story buildings were originally constructed in the 1960s, according to city records. “This is a change for Louisville,” Dean said of frequent resident concerns that such a building height would be “too big” for the city’s downtown in the days since the plans were made public. “Certainly I think it’s something we all want to carefully consider,” she added. “From staff’s perspective, it fits within the defined parameters that are measurable.” Boulder Creek Neighborhoods currently employs approximately 80 people. Company representatives suggest the redevelopment bid was spurred by a need to expand its digs without having to relocate outside of Louisville. The code allows for downtown buildings to reach up to 45 feet, officials say, but City Council typically has the final say on if it wants to reduce that height. The proposal’s appeal to the city is likely in its bid for more downtown parking, an issue that has vexed officials as they’ve grappled with the region’s growth. The parking would only apply to the building; it would be available for company employees to use during the day, and the building’s potential retail and restaurant customers in the evening hours, officials say. “As a long-term stakeholder in downtown Louisville, I take very seriously the idea that we want to keep downtown Louisville as a place where people want to be,” Boulder Creek Neighborhoods President David Sinkey told planning commissioners. “It’s not lost on me that this project represents change.” Louisville’s City Council will likely convene on the development plans sometime next month, if not sooner. Anthony Hahn: 303-473-1422,

Date

Friday, February 9, 2018

Cite

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