Concerns Raised Over Cordish Seeking $850,000 Forgivable Loan for New Tenant

by admin on March 11, 2012

After announcing a new restaurant will anchor Louisville’s downtown entertainment district, the Cordish Cos.— the Baltimore-based developer of Fourth Street Live—plans to ask Metro Government for a hefty $850,000 forgivable loan as part of its controversial 100-year-old, $1-per-year lease agreement with the city.

Tavern on Fourth will be located on top of the Sports and Social Club and include craft beers and gourmet food for the “professional crowd” in downtown. Similar to previous deals the city has made with the developer, the request for this latest forgivable loan has raised more questions about the cozy relationship between the company and the mayor’s office.

From The Courier-Journal:

The announcement comes three weeks after Cordish tried to claim the money to renovate the third and sixth floors of the Kaufman Straus building for a different tenant that it declined to name. But (Mayor Greg) Fischer withdrew support for that request after The Courier-Journal reported that the proposed tenant was The Learning House, a company that already is housed in downtown office space at the Speed building, about two blocks away from 4th Street Live.

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Information about that deal—which Assistant Economic Development Director David Morris had submitted to the Louisville Metro Council in the form of a resolution that would have allowed the administration to finalize it—incorrectly suggested 100 new jobs would be created as a result of the loan.

Questioning if taxpayers should pay the loan, city lawmakers have voiced concern about the discrepancies between the number of created jobs Cordish provided to the mayor’s office and what Learning House reported in its loan application to the state.

Ethics and Accountability Committee Chairman Jerry Miller, R-19, has asked the mayor’s economic development team to testify at their upcoming meeting on March 13 to discuss the details of the loan.

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