Holland, Mayor’s Office Welcome New Development on Fourth Street

by Gabe Bullard on August 30, 2011

An east Market Street developer says the Downtown Development Corporation’s plans for refurbishing south 4th Street will not conflict with the budding NuLu neighborhood.

At last Monday’s meeting on the DDC’s plans to attract new, small retailers to 4th Street between Broadway and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, several attendees asked whether the businesses would compete with NuLu developments.

“I think Louisville can have lots of great things. Why does it have to be either NuLu or south 4th Street?” says Gill Holland.

Holland is often called “the mayor of NuLu” for his work bringing businesses to east Market Street. He says urban retail makes sense because many residents live closer to downtown than they do to suburban shopping centers and malls, and he welcomes the DDC’s attempts to bring more businesses downtown.

“Maybe it’s a tad late, but I think in general it’s kind of mirroring what’s happening in the rest of the world,” he says. More people want to spend time downtown. And you have what’s happening with the arena and then you have what’s happening on west Main Street and I think it’s all complimenting each other.”

When asked whether he wished the DDC or the city had shown the same support for NuLu as they did for Cordish Companies developments of 4th Street, Holland says some districts are grown organically and some grow after a push from a developer, agency or government. He adds that he is frequently in talks with the DDC and the city about development. Holland served on Mayor Greg Fischer’s transition team as well. (Gill Holland is a member of the Louisville Public Media board.)

A spokesman for the mayor says the city is behind the downtown development plans, and could support business growth through small business loans. The DDC is also considering a financial support plan. But one West End business isn’t waiting. During the mayoral campaign, Greg Fischer promoted The Leading Man accessories shop on 18th Street as a model for west Louisville business. But later this year, the store won’t be in west Louisville. Owner Jim Williams says he supports the DDC’s plan to revitalize south 4th Street, but it’s not why he’s moving his store to the block north of Chestnut Street.

“We get calls from just about all of the downtown hotels,” he says. “Someone’s luggage has been lost on the plane. Someone left a belt or lost this or needs that for a certain party or something–certain things men forget a lot when you travel a lot.”

Williams hopes to relocate within the next few months. He expects 4th Street to become a major shopping district in five to ten years if the DDC’s plan is followed.

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