Monday afternoon along the section of South Fourth Street between Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Chestnut Street, the newly christened South Fourth District – or SOFO – officially opened to all with a block party organized by Extraordinary Events from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The retail district was two years in the works between the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation, city leaders, and the retailers who were selected to help revitalize the corridor bookended by the Brown and Seelbach hotels. Twenty retailers were identified as part of the first wave, with nine – Craft(s), Celebrations, Les Filles Louisville, The Leading Man, Block Party Handmade Boutique, Gifthorse, Art Eatables, Regalo and FAF Gallery – signing leases.
Aside from the new blood being brought on-board, Mayor Greg Fischer's office allocated $500,000 from the previous year's budget for streetscape improvements. The Parking Authority of River City (PARC) implemented a special parking plan to allow free parking on dedicated decks if a purchase is made from any of the SOFO retailers as their contribution, while the University of Louisville will install a series of markers focusing on the retail district's history in the civil rights movement.
After Mayor Fischer cut the ribbon with the ceremonial scissors, the festivities were in full swing. King Sonic played their brand of rockabilly while Lite 106.9 had a live remote as shoppers from across the street to the United Arab Emirates visited the seven boutiques open at the party; Craft(s) and FAF Gallery are due to open in the summer. Every guest was given a card to have punched at each retailer visited, which gave cardholders a chance to win a gift package featuring items from all of the retailers in SOFO upon receiving the final punch. Food samples from 240sweet, the Seelbach, Art Eatables and Gordon Biersch were also available.
Photos: Cameron Miquelon/Louisville.com.