Community

Mayor Greg Fischer and Seed Capital Kentucky announced on Wednesday they’ve signed an agreement greenlighting construction on a $56 million development on 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

The West Louisville FoodPort is dedicated to promoting locally and regionally produced food. Fischer said it would help revitalize Russell and create new jobs in West Louisville. 

The mayor’s office expects FoodPort to generate 200 permanent jobs and 150 temporary jobs during construction.

Under the agreement, work on the project must begin by the end of 2016 and be finished by May 2018. Seed Capital has projected an October start date for construction.

The first phase of construction will commit $31 million, including $2.7 million already invested by Seed Capital in site design, an environmental assessment, and hiring the architects, engineers and landscape designers necessary to plan the project.

Also included in the initial costs are the value of the land and a $23.5 million investment by FarmedHere, which plans to build an indoor vertical farm and food processing facility at the FoodPort. 

“We are excited to reach this important milestone in the development of the West Louisville FoodPort,” said Caroline Heine of Seed Capital. “As stewards of this property, we have been entrusted to work with our neighbors to transform it from its current state as a barren brownfield into a living, dynamic, productive asset for our community.”

Seed Capital formed a community council of more than 100 neighborhood residents that have been meeting since January of last year.

The firm also announced its intention to hire as many people from the surrounding area as possible with the help of the Louisville Urban League. Their plans call for 20 percent of project contractors to be minorities and 5 percent to be women.

A job fair for the construction jobs is planned from 1-3 p.m. on April 26 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 Muhammad Ali Blvd.

The deed for the land at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, issued by Metro government to Seed Capital for $1 to facilitate the project, requires the firm to obtain financing for the rest of the $31 million first phase independently by 2017. If it fails to pay for the first phase at that point, the land will be returned to the city automatically.

The city’s total investment comes to $1.57 million for the land and, with Metro Council approval, $300,000 for new sidewalks around the project.