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Sports, Entertainment Venues Highlighting Louisville’s New Retail Wave

Home of the Louisville Slugger and Muhammad Ali, sports is engrained in the identity of Louisville. Derby City continues to make a big push to bring in an NBA team, but a different professional team is already in town. Louisville City FC, also known as LouCity, is Louisville’s professional soccer team. The club is not only a two-time champion of the USL, the team is now in the process of building a new $65 million stadium with seating for more than 13,000 spectators.

Dubbed Lynn Family Stadium, the new arena will be the centerpiece of a 40-acre, $200 million mixed-use development in Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood. Construction of the stadium is on schedule and should open for the 2020 season. The stadium will have amazing views, including the skyline of downtown Louisville and the waterfront area overlooking the Ohio River. The project should spur other retail, housing and offices to be constructed to revitalize Butchertown.

Jim Dahlem
Vice President,
Dahlem Realty Co.

Additional sports/entertainment is moving into Louisville’s malls as anchors. The vacant Sears location at Oxmoor Mall in the St. Matthews area will have Topgolf as a new anchor tenant. Topgolf has been working to come to Louisville for 18 months and was recently granted the approvals by the City of Louisville. The approvals are now being held up in the Court of Appeals.

Despite this fact, demolition of the former Sears space has already started to make way for Topgolf to start its construction. The new golf entertainment venue will employ nearly 500 people and will only further solidify this area as a major center of Louisville’s retail market.

The world-famous Churchill Downs is continuing to grow and expand its offering as well. Not only will the venue be adding seating by the time the 2021 Kentucky Derby runs, plans call for a new hotel to open near the first turn of the track.

While sports and entertainment venues are making a splash in the Louisville market, that’s not all that is taking place in Louisville’s retail growth. There are new tenants replacing vacancies and there are new developments in the pipeline.

The Shelbyville Road corridor has had the most activity backfilling vacancies. Other than Topgolf, there are four other notable vacancies that have been or will soon be filled with quality tenants. The Best Buy Center welcomed Total Wine & More, which replaced Staples. Across the street from the Best Buy Center, Marshalls is under construction to take the former Toys ‘R’ Us location, and the former Babies ‘R’ Us vacancy was filled by Value City Furniture.

A freestanding building at 4301 Shelbyville Road will be filled with Planet Fitness to replace Louisville’s only Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market. Planet Fitness has also backfilled the former Rite Aid at Gardner Lane Shopping Center on Bardstown Road.

Jefferson Development is in the planning stages to build One Park at the corner of Grinstead Drive and Lexington Road, just outside downtown Louisville. The development offers one of the largest infill investments ever in the Louisville community. This is a mixed-use development totaling 1.3 million square feet that proposes 14,184 square feet in restaurants and cafes, 41,279 square feet of retail space and the balance will comprise multifamily residences. Jefferson Development hopes to break ground in 2021 and complete this project in 2022.

Across the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, Indiana, The Koetter Group is constructing Jeffersonville Town Center. This 160-acre, 1 million-square-foot mixed-use development is the largest project of its kind being constructed in the Louisville MSA. Current tenants include Menards, Hobby Lobby, Five Below, Ulta Beauty, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods and Petco. The future phase of this construction is 215,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, plus a proposed Class A multifamily project consisting of anywhere from 236 to 270 apartments.

Louisville’s retail offerings are continuing to grow and vacancies in quality locations are being filled quickly. “The Ville” continues to be a vibrant place to live and visit, and the sports/entertainment venues coming to the market are catering to the growing population.

— By Jim Dahlem, Vice President at Dahlem Realty Co. This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Southeast Real Estate Business.

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