How A Blighted Downtown Is Resurrected

<p>Once-blighted areas of downtown Louisville, Kentucky, have seen huge increases in development and property values recently -- a trend many attribute to public initiatives that encourage private investors. But other factors are also causing the boom.</p>
June 22, 2007, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"More than 500 houses and apartments have replaced abandoned lots and vacant buildings. Some homes are rented to families receiving government subsidies, but others have sold for more than $400,000."

"A recent report, based on data from the Kentucky State Data Center, shows that median housing values in one section of Russell jumped 113 percent between 2000 and 2006 -- to $38,500 from $18,065."

"It's a trend seen in Louisville's other central neighborhoods, too, with property values seeing the largest gains in areas that are close to downtown and have the highest poverty rates. The study found property value growth in census tracts across Louisville, but the most pronounced increases were in urban neighborhoods. That shows, officials and developers say, that private investment will follow when government initiates public incentives and financing to create housing and remove blight."

From a separate commentary published by the Courier-Journal:

"Why are property values soaring in neighborhoods near the center of the city?"

"One reason is that older downtown neighborhoods have become places of creating affordable home ownership opportunities."

"Another reason is that consumers are paying twice as much at the pump for gasoline. Folks are tired of long commutes from home to work."

"Another reason for the shift is the 'back-to-the-city' movement, where people are choosing to live in affordable, historic housing in edgy neighborhoods near downtown."

"Not all downtown neighborhoods are experiencing an increase in property values. Race does not explain it, since the best performing neighborhoods are integrated or minority-dominated areas."

Thanks to John Gilderbloom

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Published on Thursday, June 21, 2007 in The Courier-Journal
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