The University of Louisville has opened its new eight-story downtown building—called The Nucleus—that’s part of a larger planned corridor meant to support research and innovation in life sciences and aging care.
“This was a site for businesses and farmers and immigrants that were coming into our country. For the first entrepreneurs and innovators that really existed in our community,” says U of L President James Ramsey.
The Nucleus is located on the old Haymarket property at Market and Floyd streets. The anchor company announced Wednesday—Atria Senior Living—will occupy nearly half of the 200,000 square foot space and adds to several other businesses, which city and state leaders hope will put Louisville on the map for life-long wellness and aging care.
“We are a national company that chooses Louisville as a place of which to operate,” says John Moore, CEO of Atria Senior Living, which offers moderate to high-end assisted living services.
Atria has operated in Louisville for a number of years, but Moore says when the opportunity at The Nucleus came up, it was a space and offer he couldn’t refuse to relocate his main operation which will include roughly 300 employees.
Moore says the company plans to open a restaurant on the first floor of the building that will also serve as a test kitchen for Atria.
“We’re about, as a company in our communities, teaching our chefs to source food efficiently, locally, high quality ingredients. What better way to do it than with a test kitchen restaurant on East Market Street in Louisville,” Moore says.
The Nucleus development will include six primary companies including Atria, Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, Accelerate Health, U of L Physicians, the U of L Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation and the U of L Institute for Optimal Aging.
Gov. Steve Beshear says that while agriculture and manufacturing will continue to be relevant and important to Kentucky’s growth, innovation is a concept the state must also embrace.
“As this world continues to grow more sophisticated, today’s marketplace increasingly rewards innovation, research and technological knowledge as well as entrepreneurship and courage,” says Beshear.
Aside from the anchor companies, The Nucleus will also serve several other companies that will use the space to innovate or grow their businesses or ideas. The building itself is four years in the making from U of L’s research and development arm (also called Nucleus) that’s part of a larger master plan that includes a corridor meant to stimulate innovation and business.
“This project that has been a long time coming. It’s not just good for jobs, but it’s good for quality of place,” says Mayor Greg Fischer. “And when people make a decision about where they’re going to locate they think about those two things. Are there good jobs and what does that quality of place look like?”
Project leaders say the next step will be developing the parking lot that sits just South of The Nucleus building. Development plans and a timeline of the three other buildings has not yet been determined, officials tell WFPL.
The building itself—which cost $20 million to develop—is designed as a “core and shell” building, meaning companies that have signed a lease will be given an allowance to complete the interior portions of their space to fit their operations.
Nucleus also partnered with Bernheim Forest and Arboretum, which designed a rooftop garden that will be accessible to tenants, and officials expect the building to become LEED certified.
The project received around $20 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits to help pay for the building, officials says.