LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The University of Louisville has finally made a deal to buy the old silo property off Interstate 65 near Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
For well over a decade, we've seen the amazing progress on the UofL campus in that area thanks in a big part to UofL Athletic Director Tom Jurich. Drivers on I-65 have seen it too, that is until they come up on 22 silos.
The deal to finally purchase the old Solae soy product factory property is part of the University's master plan to continue to transform its campus.
"The University has had it's eyes on that property for a long time," said UofL Spokesman Mark Hebert.
Just how long?
At least as long as when the UofL banners started going up on those iconic Louisville silos. That was back in 1998 when Papa John's Cardinal Stadium first opened. Back then former WAVE 3 News political pundit Dave Nakdimen noted that the banners on concrete silos didn't quite measure up to the stadium next door. Nakdimen joked in a commentary, "An artistic statement is made by attaching the vinyl lettering with bolts and with a little effort I'm sure they may have funded the entire project with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts."
When the company closed its doors back in January of 2013 WAVE 3 News asked the company about the possibility of the university buying the 15-acre property.
A manager told us, "It's all pure speculation at this point there have been no confirmed potential buyers." After years of building state-of-the-art athletic facilities around the 22 silos. The University of Louisville foundation will now pay $3.3 million to become its new owner.
The school may use the property for research buildings, classrooms or sports facilities and right now, they're just happy drivers on I-65 will be able to see it.
Hebert said, "It's a whole lot better for us that people traveling along I-65 can look off to the left or the right and see this beautiful campus and all these great athletic fields instead of 22 silos sticking up and blocking their view of this beautiful campus." Hebert tells us the changes in the UofL campus over the last few years including the new student activity center and numerous athletic fields have really made a huge difference in retaining students and bumping up the graduation rate.
The purchase of the silos property is just one of the deals UoflL has in motion.
The university is also in active negotiations to buy the old Dulworth office building on Market Street as part of the downtown Nucleus project. The University Foundation has authorized up to $2.8 million for that purchase.
Hebert said the bridge construction in that area near the old Haymarket block may lead to changes for the location of the Nucleus parking garage and could lead to re-designing or tweaking of the downtown research and technology park.