Foodport fallout: What's next for development in West Louisville?

Foodport fallout: What's next for development in West Louisville?

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – One day after the $35 million Foodport project was scraped, Mayor Greg Fischer said there is a still a lot of potential for development in West Louisville.

"The community council that worked on the Foodport, I understand, wants to stay involved and look for future uses of that land and how we can have community benefit from it as well," Fischer said Thursday.

He said the 30 acres remain available and he's hopeful the right project will come along.

"It's untapped resources down here in the West End," said Sweet Peaches owner Pamela Haines, whose business is located in the 1800 block of W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

Growing up in West Louisville, Haines knew that's where she wanted to start her restaurant.

"From the time I can remember, my mom always took us out to go shopping and out to eat," Haines said. "That's one of the things that I wanted to do when I put my business here, because I could have put it anywhere, I could have gone anywhere."

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She's not the only one to see opportunity west of 9th street. The man behind NuLu, Gill Holland, has worked hard to revitalize the Portland neighborhood in the last few years.

"There's a billion dollars of, I think, unbanked capital in West Louisville every year and West Louisville on its own is the fourth-biggest city in the state of Kentucky," Holland said.

Developers pulled the plug on the Foodport project at 30th and Market after the largest tenant, FarmedHere, backed out.

"Right now we are trying to figure out, with some of the investments we've made and some of the learnings we've gotten, will be able to pay forward for the local food economy," said Stephen Reily, the founder of non-profit Seed Capital Kentucky.

Holland said economic and community development go hand-in-hand, and he's hopes supporters won't give up on a larger vision.

"The Foodport was one piece of a huge revitalization project that is underway right now and a lot of times you don't see things in the early stages, you start seeing things once new buildings actually get built, or facades actually get redone," Holland said.

Haines said what the West End really needs are more shops and restaurants, keeping dollars in the neighborhood.

"We work hard and we want to spend our money where we live," she said.

FarmedHere released a statement on its decision Thursday. Here it is:

FarmedHere is not in a position to break ground in Louisville on the timeline proposed by the FoodPort. We believe that the FoodPort would have been incredibly transformative to West Louisville. We deeply respect the workforce development efforts of Seed Capital Kentucky and its collaborators and wish them success in the future.  

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