Written by: John Robertson AIA
Older cities like Louisville offer opportunities for redevelopment within the core of the city as opposed to sites along the perimeters. At times, these sites are located in economically depressed areas of the city. A decade ago, a single project constructed on east Market Street provided a genesis for ongoing development. Today, Market Street is one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods with businesses that flourish, created jobs, new residents and more.
In 2016, Passport made the bold and innovative decision to locate new offices upon the old Phillip Morris site in west Louisville. The 20 acre site had been vacant for decades contributing to urban decay along its perimeters. Passport was able to acquire the site for a fraction of the average for properties located within the urban core. City leaders and residents celebrate this strategic move that assures economic reformation for this distressed area of town while improving the built environment for all residents of Louisville.
Passport challenged the designers to create a Health and Wellness Campus to compliment the building. An extensive park like plaza links the Passport Building and the future buildings of Phase 2. Development of Phase 2 will be funded by others who desire to acquire out parcels for various interest. Phase 2 development will include workplaces, healthcare, food service, retail and multifamily residential. Once complete, it is estimated that nearly 5000 persons may visit the 20 acre site each day.
The Passport Health and Wellness Campus is an outstanding example of new urban revitalization and will likely serve as a model for others nationwide. This once impoverished property has already garnered Phase 2 commitments from area Developers and has encourage new development nearby. New construction is underway to the east along the Broadway corridor. Real jobs are created, property values are on the rise and renewed interest in the area is mobilizing. All of this is possible because a single corporate partner was willing to take the first step. The result is a new built environment that we can all enjoy while creating wealth for investors and new revenue streams for the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.