Downtown Louisville entertainment, retail center nets Cordish another award


Baltimore-based Cordish Co.'s knack for enlivening downtown districts with entertainment retail centers won the company its sixth award from a national land-use research group yesterday.

The Washington-based Urban Land Institute gave its 2005 Award for Excellence to Cordish's Fourth Street Live! retail and office project in downtown Louisville, Ky. The Cordish project was among 11 winners of what is widely considered one of the most prestigious honors in the real estate industry. The company is the only one to have won six times in the award's 26-year history.

"The developer revitalized a failed downtown enclosed mall and, in the process, catalyzed further redevelopment in Louisville," using entertainment to draw nighttime activity downtown, the institute said yesterday in announcing the winners.

"Before you had nobody coming downtown after 5 p.m., it would empty out," said Jonathan A. Cordish, a Cordish vice president. "Now it routinely draws 10,000 to 20,000 people on weekends and through other events and has changed the economic dynamics of downtown Louisville."

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson credited the project, which was completed in November, with turning a failed mall into a thriving retail and entertainment district, which he said has been key to energizing the city.

"The spinoff effects of this project, and the direct benefits to our community have far exceeded our initial expectations," Abramson said.

The Fourth Street Live! project had been a downtown street that was made into an indoor mall. Cordish "de-malled" the retail center and developed it for stores, restaurants, nightclubs, upper-floor offices and anchors including the Hard Rock CafM-i, Borders and Lucky Strike lounge and bowling alley.

ULI chose the winners from 73 entries. Projects were evaluated on financial viability, resourceful use of land, design, relevance to contemporary issues and sensitivity to the community and environment. Each helps foster a live-work-play environment and is designed to complement and enhance the greater community, ULI said.

Cordish has won the award in the past for The Power Plant at the Inner Harbor, Bayou Place in downtown Houston, Furness House in Baltimore, Charleston Place in Charleston, S.C., and Rainbow Centre in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

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