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Local News

Cards’ Final Four Celebration Set For Tuesday

University of Louisville basketball fans will get a chance to celebrate the team’s Final Four run tomorrow with a public event at Fourth Street Live.

Coach Rick Pitino says it will be the Cards’ first opportunity to publicly thank fans for their support.

U of L went on an eight game winning streak in the post-season to reach the national semifinals in New Orleans, where the Cards were eliminated by eventual champion Kentucky.

“I think it’s awesome to have two teams from a small state in the Final Four playing each other. It’s history, we’re part of history now. I’d like it to happen again. I just want the score to be reversed next time around,” Pitino said at a Monday press conference.

Pitino also announced that guard Elisha Justice is transferring to the University of Pikeville and forward Jared Swopshire will play his final collegiate season at Northwestern.

Associate Coach Richard Pitino (left) is also leaving Louisviille and his father’s staff. He’ll be the new head coach at Florida International.    

“We’re trying to get him in here to play next season,” Rick Pitino joked. “Because I never spanked him as a child and I want to give him a good spanking when he comes back in here.”

Pitino says he’s in no particular hurry to fill the job, although he has several candidates in mind.

The Cards’ Fourth Street Live celebration begins at 5:30pm Tuesday.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Tandy Wants More Minority Business on Fourth Street Live

Louisville Metro Councilman David Tandy, D-4, is encouraging Mayor Greg Fischer and the Cordish Companies to put more minority-owned businesses in Fourth Street Live.

The push comes weeks after Fischer backed Tandy’s proposal to give the Baltimore-based developer an $850,000 forgivable loan to move a new tenant into office space nearby the entertainment district. The ordinance was pulled and the loan fell through, however, when it was learned the business was The Learning House, which is already housed downtown and was relocating only a few blocks.

In response to mounting questions from city lawmakers, Fischer ordered an economic development study of Fourth Street Live to review job creation, spin-off development and tax revenue generated for the city.

Tandy is chair of the Labor and Economic Development Committee and Fourth Street Live is in his district. He says he would like to see more local businesses and developers involved in Fourth Street Live and the surrounding corridor, adding the study’s recommendations should also look at the lack of minority-owned business in the district.

“There has not been any significant minority business participation whether it be in the Fourth Street Live area or for that matter in the surrounding area, which I think is a part of the continued vitality and strength of a community is to make sure that all parts of our community participate in the development and growth and prosperity of the local economy,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Fischer Administration Acknowledges Mistakes Over Failed Cordish Loan

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration apologized for a botched loan agreement with The Cordish Cos.—the developer of Fourth Street Live—during a Metro Council committee hearing on Tuesday.

Last month, Fischer offered up a resolution to give the Baltimore-based company an $850,000 forgivable loan to bring an unnamed tenant to downtown. The legislation was sponsored by Councilman David Tandy, D-4, and was pitched to renovate two floors for new business in the Kaufman Straus building.

But the mayor killed the proposal after learning the tenant was The Learning House, which is already housed downtown and was only moving a few blocks to a new location.

Director of Economic Growth and Innovation Ted Smith told the council’s government accountability panel that the mayor’s office made a mistake and based the request on incomplete information.

“Clearly we were too hasty in our actions as it relates to the loan request,” he said. “We take seriously the responsibilities we have to the public, the local business community and commitments that have been made in the past.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Fischer Orders Study of Fourth Street Live After Failed Cordish Loan

After killing a botched loan agreement with The Cordish Cos. to bring a tenant to its office space, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has ordered an economic development study of Fourth Street Live and its developer.

Last month, the mayor backed an ordinance that would have given the Baltimore-based developer an $850,000 forgivable loan in taxpayer dollars to move a new tenant into the Kaufman Straus building. But the administration withdrew their support for the measure after it was revealed the proposed tenant was The Learning House, which is already located downtown and only three blocks away from the proposed site.

City lawmakers have raised serious concerns about the relationship between Cordish and the mayor’s office due to an economic development officer who mislead council members that the new tenant would create 100 jobs when Learning House only expected 10 new positions.

Fischer says the study will examine taxes, jobs and spin-off development, adding the city and residents need the facts about the value of the downtown entertainment district.

“We have plenty of anecdotal evidence that Fourth Street Live is good for our downtown and good for our city’s overall economy. It is important that we have the actual facts. With our new administration and some new Metro Council members, it’s important we all have a common understanding of the data and make fact-based decisions in valid economic terms on what the development means to Louisville,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

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

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.

(SNIP)

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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Local News

Fourth Street Live Tavern to Close, Another Bar Likely in Borders Space

A restaurant in Fourth Street Live is closing.

The Red Star Tavern is being evicted for not paying rent. It will mark the second large vacancy in the development. The former Borders location has been empty since the company went bankrupt.

All leases for Fourth Street Live are handled by the Baltimore-based Cordish Companies. A spokesman for the mayor says the administration is confident Cordish will find a new restaurant tenant to fill the Red Star Tavern space.

He also says Cordish is close to securing a tenant for the Borders space. It will likely be a bar or restaurant, despite calls from local boosters for another retail space. The location could be split into an upstairs and downstairs, however, with the upstairs serving as a retail space.

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Local News

Council Urged To Approve 'Center City' Land Purchase

Some Louisville business and civic leaders are urging the Metro Council to approve the final land purchase for the proposed Center City project downtown.

A resolution to buy the so-called Water Block and lease it to the Cordish Company to extend the Fourth Street Live complex has been held up in the council amid concerns about the city’s development agreement with Cordish.

Some council members want minimum investment and other guarantees from the developer.

At a press conference and rally Wednesday in support of Center City, Downtown Development Corporation Chairman Jim Welch said in addition to development along the Water Block, some old space would be revitalized.

“Like retail and the Starks Building, and events at the Louisville Gardens. Those spaces were once prominent venues in their own right and they need to be brought back to life,” Welch said.

The Louisville Metro Council is scheduled to vote on the land purchase at its next meeting Thursday evening.

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Local News

Council Vote On 'Center City' Scheduled This Week

After two postponments, the Louisville Metro Council is scheduled to vote this week on a resolution to purchase the final piece of property for the proposed Center City project downtown.

But first the council wants some changes made to the development agreement between the mayor’s office and Cordish Company, which wants to expand its Fourth Street Live complex on the land.

Some members want more guarantees from Cordish before they will approve the land deal, including a guaranteed minimum $200 million investment in Center City.

Mayor Jerry Abramson said last week he’s hopeful an agreement can be reached before a looming deadline to close on the property.

“We’ve been talking with the council members, we’ve been talking to an awful lot of business people and other developers and they’ve been very positive about this happening and they’ve been very supportive,” Abramson said.

Cordish has said it might abandon the project if the council doesn’t follow through on the land deal.