Councilman Skeptical Over Center City Land Purchase

by Gabe Bullard on September 1, 2008

This month, the Louisville Metro Council budget committee will likely vote to spend more than $12 million to buy land for the Center City project. But a committee co-chair still has questions about the deal.

The project’s development agreement requires the city to purchase the block east of 4th Street Live and lease it to the Baltimore-based Cordish Company. This week, the budget committee is scheduled to vote on a plan to buy the land for more than $12 million.

The committee has reviewed the development deal, but Councilman Kelly Downard wants to delay any votes on Center City until a special meeting next week. He says the council needs more time to go over the project and get a more exact figure on how much it will cost.

“If we continue to pledge our future taxes for 30 years on all these projects and we actually grow but we don’t get any taxable revenue out of, at some point we’re going to stifle our own ability to operate,” he says. “We’re setting that up for the future. I don’t know if it’s been done in this particular case, it may not have been done thoughtfully.”

Downard says he wants more of a guarantee from Cordish that it will develop the area. The current agreement calls for the company to spend at least $200 million on improvements such as new sidewalks and street lights.

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