Community

A group of developers wants to bring a research park to the West End.

Louisville Metro Government is considering four development proposals for Heritage West, the former West Louisville FoodPort site at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. One of those proposals includes a biotech research park.

Courtesy Biotechnology Research Park

A slide from the Biotechnology Research Park proposal.

The developers of the Global Biotechnology Research Park believe the site could serve as a hub for STEM jobs, a business incubator and a biotech research park.

“You look at what research parks are able to do systematically for areas and communities that look a lot like what West Louisville looks like, where there’s a challenge in public-private investments,” says Matthew Harrell, a developer on the project.

Clifford Turner, president of Land Development Services, is the lead developer on the project.

“And then look at the fact that the STEM job area was one of the fastest growing interests in the country,” says Turner. “So we wanted to make sure that we were included.”

The proposal was submitted by Turner and his team — an idea that’s four years in the making. The project is modeled after Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park in Richmond.

Courtesy Biotechnology Research Park

A slide from the Biotechnology Research Park proposal for Heritage West.

The concept for North Carolina’s research park, which sits between three universities, was created in the 1950s. The park helped North Carolina go from being a state dependent on manufacturing jobs in agriculture and textiles, to the invention of bar code scanners, AstroTurf and drugs for cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Turner admits the Heritage West plan is ambitious. After all, the West End site is 24 acres, compared to the 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, which now boasts 200 companies.

“I know it’s a stretch, but I think we can get there,” says Turner.

The Global Biotechnology Research Park would take two years to complete and have an estimated cost of more than $240 million.

Residents have until July 17 to comment on the proposals. Louisville Metro officials will then decide the fate of the 24-acre site and will enter into an agreement with one of the four development teams by late summer. The option to combine proposals is on the table as well.

Roxanne Scott covers the economy for WFPL News.