With New Restaurant Planned for 4th Street Live, Calls for Downtown Retail Continue

by Gabe Bullard on November 16, 2011

The news that the former Borders bookstore building in 4th Street Live won’t be filled with another retail shop has come as a disappointment for many downtown boosters.

The Borders space has been empty for months, and it’s up to the Baltimore-based Cordish Companies to find a tenant. Insider Louisville reports that the German restaurant and brewery Gordon Biersch will fill the space. The mayor’s office will confirm that some type of eatery will move in, but opted to leave details of the tenant to Cordish.

Louisville Downtown Management District Director of Operations Ken Herndon says downtown has plenty of options for dining or living, but not for shopping.

“That’s not a criticism of 4th Street Live, that’s what they do, and that’s great,” he says. “But we would hope that somebody could step in and get some retail down there so they could partner with what 4th Street Live does so well.”

Many other downtowns around the country are struggling with attracting retail as well.

“The number one complaint we get from conventioneers and tourists is that there’s not enough retail downtown,” says Herndon. “And when the Borders space emptied out, I think everybody was hoping there would be some kind of retail in it. We’re thrilled to have another great restaurant, but, not just the Borders space, but anyplace downtown, we would love to have more retail and we’re working with anybody we can to make that happen.”

The Downtown Development Corporation has also developed a plan to attract more stores downtown, specifically to the area south of 4th Street Live.

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