LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A lot of vacant retail space on Dixie Highway has the community wondering what is next to come.
Communities in Shively, Pleasure Ridge Park and Valley Station will soon have new businesses, and Councilman Rick Blackwell, District 12, says it's been a long time coming.
"Years ago we started looking at the plans for Dixie and asking what is it that we can do?" Blackwell said.
With phase one of the Dixie Do Over Project underway, Councilman Blackwell recognized the community is hopeful after long-time businesses began closing their doors.
"Toys R Us sat off the road quite a distance and there weren't any out lots." It was one of the areas that were under-developed and underused, Blackwell said.
The space has since been purchased and the parking lot has already transitioned into a construction site. "It is what people in our area have been looking for, for a long time, a Chick-fil-A."
The owners of the Toys R Us building have had a lot of interests, said Blackwell. The councilman said he hopes to announce the new occupant of that space soon. North of the vacant Toys R Us building is the old K-Mart building, along with the vacant Tire Discounters store sitting out front. Kroger is expected to move in soon.
Although it's going to replace the Kroger in the shopping center a few blocks away, shoppers can expect major changes as this is the first of its kind in Louisville.
"The concept is that is it more of a store that is also having other retail, like clothes and so on."
The beautified parking lot, with a vision of islands and landscape, will also be the foundation of a new Zaxbys.
"The community along Dixie Highway will spend money, there is no doubt that. This is how we have shown developers that we are serious, is by spending money," said Blackwell.
El Nopal is expected to replace Mexico Tipico. Panera Bread will replace the vacant PNC Bank.
The construction for most of the new business will begin before the end of September.