• One Percent CRE

Louisville OK'd hundreds more apartments than single family homes in 2019

Louisville Metro’s Office of Planning and Design Services recorded a more than 19% jump in approved residential single-family and multifamily units during the year, driven in large part by the apartment boom.

Data released by Louisville Forward and Develop Louisville, the city’s planning and zoning arm, showed that 6,161 residential units were approved by Louisville Metro last year, including 3,229 apartments and 2,932 single-family homes.

That was up sharply from 2018, when the city approved 5,153 residential, including a little more than 2,000 apartments, said Caitlin Bowling, communications manager for Louisville Forward, the city's economic development arm.

According to the report, Metro government is starting to strike a balance between apartments and single-family homes as the residential units approved prior to the Great Recession were nearly all single-family homes. By contrast, most of the residential units approved between 2013 and 2017 were apartments and other multifamily units.

Hotel growth too

Outside of apartments, hotels also are doing well as 1,297 hotel rooms were approved by the city in 2019, with 10 hotels under construction, the data shows. Several more hotels are under development, and they will add to the nearly 21,000 existing hotel rooms in the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area, Bowling said.

During the year, the city received a total of 2,804 applications for projects, down slightly from 2,878 applications in 2018. That decline in applications was attributed primarily to a small drop in administrative requests for extensions, zoning confirmations and city certifications.

Other numbers that stood out were approval rates for planning cases. For instance, roughly 92% of the 763 requests heard in 2019 by the Planning Commission, Land Development and Transportation Committee, Development Review Committee and the Board of Zoning Adjustment were approved. And 61 of the 62 rezoning cases heard were approved.

“Local and out-of-town investors are all recognizing the value and benefit Louisville offers,” Develop Louisville Director Jeff O’Brien said in a news release. “In 2020, we expect that success to continue.”

Bowling said Louisville Forward and Develop Louisville compiles this data each year but shared it through a public release this year to highlight the work being done by the city and the amount of investment pouring in.

And the data comes as Louisville Forward has faced some calls for increased transparency by Louisville Metro Council.

Last year, the council approved an ordinance sponsored by Councilman Anthony Piagentini that gives it more direct oversight over Louisville Forward. As part of that ordinance, Louisville Forward is expected to provide the council with quarterly reports on economic development activity. On the development front, Piagentini has said he wants to see quantitative data on deals closed, direct investments, jobs created and other key metrics outlined in these reports. And he wants to see that data benchmarked against other cities.

The ordinance also called for information on requests for proposals and requests for information and a breakdown on the sale of city-owned vacant and abandoned and surplus properties, including how the deals are structured.

By Marty Finley  – Reporter, Louisville Business First - Feb 4, 2020

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