Downtown Louisville? Stacey Servo loves it.
Not just because she's the community relations manager for Louisville Downtown Management District, but because she is a downtown resident and worker herself.
Servo says she's sure many of 60,000 people who report to work downtown each day would like to simply walk the eight blocks to work each day like she does, and more people are making that choice lately as they take notice of the district's growing vitality.
“Downtown’s revitalization has been occurring for the last 10 years and in earnest for the past three years or so," she says, explaining that it wasn't long before that when she and her husband relocated here from Seattle. “We got tired of the rat race, high cost of living and sitting in traffic during every commute. We researched some top urban places to live and moved to downtown Louisville in 2007.”
A huge influx of activity and movement in downtown Louisville began occurring in October 2010 with the opening of KFC Yum! Center, the new home of University of Louisville basketball and many other entertainment events.
“The new arena brought 750,000 people to downtown Louisville during its first three months, and those people began seeing the positives of the district,” Servo says. “A lot of restaurants have popped up because of the arena, helping Louisville to now be ranked second nationally to New York City in the number of independently owned restaurants.”
The district is also home to 21c Museum Hotel, which opened in 2006 and is ranked the nation’s No. 1 hotel for 2011 by Conde Nast. The award-winning Proof on Main bar/restaurant is also located in 21c.
Downtown also houses Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Muhammad Ali Center, Frazier International History Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory as well as Louisville Slugger Field, which hosts semi-pro baseball during the spring and summer months. Servo says the evolution of downtown Louisville is a continuing process.
“The district still needs a supermarket along with a big trader store – some kind of an urban Target would be nice,” she says. “But to this point, things are going really well.”
Lots of Energy
Alan DeLisle, executive director of the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation, also lives in the district and is impressed with the vast amount of experiences that can be had there.
“I'm a baby boomer who lived the suburban life and raised my kids, then my wife and I wanted to downsize by selling our house and moving downtown,” he says. “I now walk to work because my office is right across the street from the Galt House, where I live.”
DeLisle points out that from a worker perspective, vibrant companies today are looking for creative employees who can multitask, and downtown Louisville offers a creative environment.
“Working downtown is more alive compared to a stale research park or office building cluster where you just drive in and drive out,” he says. “Downtown Louisville at lunchtime has a lot of people on the street and a lot of energy, and energy leads to creativity and productivity.”
Something Different Every Day
DeLisle adds that Greater Louisville Inc. has introduced a marketing campaign entitled “Something Different Every Day – Downtown Louisville,” which trumpets the excitement of the district.
“As for living options, they include places like Fleur de Lis on Main, Lofts of Broadway, Mercantile Gallery Lofts and Soho on Main, while interesting attractions include Louisville Glassworks, The Art Underground, Bluegrass Brewing Company and Fourth Street Live entertainment district,” he says. “Work, live and play – that’s what downtown Louisville offers.”
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