The last I had heard about the project indicated that it was dead in the water or even worse, that it had never even been intended to succeed. Of course you can't always believe what commercial real-estate developers tell you . . .
On the radio, Mayor Fischer admitted that there was still plenty of hope that the project could still be built, and his tone indicated that the project is anything but dead in the water.
Fischer said, "There's a lot of hope around Museum Plaza. The developers around that are fantastic community citizens. Obviously, they are the folks behind 21c. They also stepped up to help with the Whiskey Row and Iron Quarter projects and Museum Plaza will be an iconic architectural statement for our city. This project will probably be one of the most talked about construction projects from an architectural standpoint globally once it's launched. So it will be a tremendous benefit for our city and provide some much needed Class A office space."
Still Fischer says that," . . . the critical issue in getting the project complete is the loosening up of the financial markets, in particular the lending climate which has been very, very tight [for several years]. Now it's starting to loosen up, so almost all the financing is in place except for some financing that needs to come from banks. I think it's about a quarter or twenty percent of the lending of the total amount that is still outstanding."
In my question to the mayor, I asked if there were regular, relevant meetings taking place in Louisville that would indicate the project getting back on track sooner or later.
Fischer said, "Conversations are taking place between the developers and lending institutions so I'm optimistic."
One of the most obvious benefits to getting the construction going would be the addition of approximately 4,000 jobs to the local economy. Something Fischer admits needs improving.
Fischer said, "It would be 4,000 construction jobs. The construction jobs are really where we're hurting right now. There's just not a lot going on in the city right now, but there's a whole lot of big projects in the pipeline. So I'm hopeful and the city will do what it can to help Museum Plaza in a responsible way."
The show's host, Gabe Bullard, asked Mayor Fischer if there was a deadline for developers to get this financing secured.
"Not that I'm aware of," Mayor Fischer said. "I know they're working real hard on it on a daily basis. It'll happen when [the developers] get all their funds together, but [the developers] certainly have the capacity to do a project like [Museum Plaza]."
Mayor Fisher says he is supportive of the project and has participated in conversations with lenders.
Fischer said,"I let [the lenders] know about the city's support. Certainly, I shared the conversation of encouragement from Shaun Donovan who is the HUD secretary in Washington D.C. with his stated support for the project as well. So I encourage the lenders to help us out here in Louisville."
Build it and they will come . . . whatever that means. But build it-