The old Portland Christian School, soon to become the Compassion Building
Part of the area along Portland Avenue to become the Portland Stroll District.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's a big vision that could transform the look of the Portland neighborhood and give children more resources.
The man behind NuLu is now moving west to create the Portland Stroll District. Gill Holland and his team will be the first tenants to move into the Old Portland Christian School, which will soon become the Compassion Building.
"I definitely think by the spring people will see a real change," said Holland.
Inside a historic building, what was once a Civil War Hospital and most recently a school will soon be transformed again.
"The old music classroom will be our office and we can kind of watch what's happening here in the Portland Stroll District," said Holland.
Holland, a filmmaker and President of the NuLu Business Association, is ready to shift his focus to Portland. He's leading a group of investors who plan to spend around $22-million dollars on the project, starting with the Compassion Building. Holland said he already has some non-profits and businesses ready to move in and all of them are geared towards children.
"We really want to be the place, you go to KMAC (Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft), you go to the science center and then you come to the Compassion Building and the Portland Stroll District," said Holland.
On Portland Avenue from 22nd Street to 27th Street, Holland envisions new local businesses including coffee and ice cream shops and retail, even an art scene.
"We feel like in the Portland neighborhood, a lot of good things that we worked so hard to get to in NuLu, already exist in the Portland neighborhood," said Holland. "It is already very walkable, it is very close to downtown, there are great historic buildings and there's lots of people that have been here doing good things for a long time."
Long time Portland business owner, Kevin Shaheen says he welcomes the change.
"Hopefully we can partner with those that are coming down to make positive things happen for the community," said Shaheen.
Holland hopes to move into the Compassion Building in the next couple weeks.
"They have sweat equity in it and I think that's going to be the big difference between what has happened before and what is happening now," said Shaheen.
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725 S. Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40203