gives Louisville something to crow about
complex has brought nightlife
back to downtown, merchants say
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (August 2004) Its a typical Saturday night
at 4th Street Live!, downtown Louisvilles hot new mega entertainment
complex. Music fills the air as throngs of people meander the two-level
open-air venue, perusing the restaurants, shops and lounges like so
many magazines on a bookstore rack.
Found among the masses early in the evening is an eclectic mix, including
grandparents, couples with young children in tow, and teenagers. Wristbands,
issued with a flash of ID at the entrance, control who can buy drinks
at any of the alcoholic beverage stations positioned along the street
within the complex.
of the August issue.
Later, as kids are tucked into mini vans and driven home,
the crowd thickens with revelers, chatting in groups and moving in and
out of the restaurants and bars, many of which are open until 4 a.m.
I get off work at 2:30 a.m. on weekends, and when I leave, the
street is packed with people, said Jennifer Clem, 21, a waitress
at T.G.I. Fridays. Ive lived here all my life, and
when I see that, I cant believe Im in Louisville.
The scene would no doubt please executives of the Cordish Co., the Baltimore-based
developer responsible for creating the complex. In 2002, the company
purchased for $1 from the city of Louisville the former Galleria, a
1980s style shopping mall that had, along with big hair and Members
Only jackets, lost its appeal among contemporary Louisvillians.
Cordish, well-known and respected for its real estate expertise, is
the largest developer of entertainment districts and concepts in the
country. At the companys helm is chairman David Cordish, whose
grandfather, Louis Cordish, in 1910 began developing office and apartment
complexes in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C, area. The company encompasses
four generations of privately held family ownership and over the past
10 decades has grown into multi-billion dollar conglomerate.
4th Street Live! is one of several entertainment centers recently developed
by Cordish. The most similar to 4th Street Live! is Power Plant Live!,
which opened in Baltimore in phases from 2001 to 2002. Located two blocks
from the citys Inner Harbor, the two-square-block entertainment
district includes 15 bars, restaurants, comedy and dance clubs and other
entertainment venues as well as loft offices.
Cordish also operates in Baltimore the Power Plant, a mixed-use project
that includes the first ESPN zone in the country as well as Barnes &
Nobles, Hard Rock Cafe, Golds Gym and office space. Last year,
the development attracted more than 10 million visitors.
In addition to 4th Street Live! and its Maryland developments,
Cordish owns similar complexes in New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, South
Carolina, Texas and Florida.
Like it did with Baltimores Power Plant Live!, Cordish has filled
its Louisville development with a hip and trendy tenant mix of national
and regional operators. Hard Rock Cafe, its 35-foot neon guitar sign
one of 4th Street Live!s most conspicuous beacons, is among them.
Generating a 2 1/2-hour wait on a typical Saturday evening, the 8,500-square-foot
restaurant offers casual dining amidst a plethora of trademark memorabilia,
which includes guitars and clothing from artists such as Ringo Starr,
Elvis Presley, Aerosmith, Van Halen and ZZ Top.
Next door to Hard Rock at street level is the entrance to the 12,000-square-foot
Red Cheetah Lounge, an upscale nightclub complete with cheetah print
carpeting, sculpted metal palm trees, dance floor and VIP area.
Other ground level eateries are T.G.I. Fridays and Red Star Tavern,
featuring steaks, chops and seafood along with an extensive drink list
including specialty martinis and beers. Burgers, sandwiches and kid-friendly
selections are also available.
Located on the second level are Parrot Beach, a tropical island-themed
bar, Cold Stone Creamery, Rascals Comedy Club, CVS Pharmacy, Fashion
Shop, Bartinis, and Hogan Real Estate.
by Don Ward
Although it has an array of places in which to eat, drink and be
merry, 4th Street Live! also can be enjoyed from outside. A glass
roof a Galleria leftover shelters the area
from rain, and on the second floor balcony are a number of tables
and chairs. Beer and mixed drinks are readily available from outdoor,
mobile vendors, and an arena liquor license allows patrons to move
freely about with cups in hand. Television screens of various sizes
complete the techno-age atmosphere.
Whether the outdoor crowds will continue when the weather cools remains
to be seen. We expect some seasonality to the project and most
promotions will be planned for the spring, summer and fall. We havent
yet determined whether we will use heaters, said Cordishs
director of marketing, Kimber Goodwin, a Kentucky native and University
of Louisville graduate who has been with the company for three years.
Although by the end of July 4th Street Live! was attracting large
crowds, several tenants had yet to open. Among them were Lucky Strike
Lanes, a swank bowling alley-lounge concept created by Jillians
co-founder and former CEO Steven Foster. Slated to premier in September,
the lounge will, in addition to bowling lanes, feature floor-to-ceiling
video screens in an atmosphere its creators say combines vintage
elements, modern decor, state of the art technology and unforgettable
Connected to Lucky Strike but with a separate entrance will be Felt,
a lounge with pool tables and a menu featuring appetizers, burgers
Also opening this fall will be the first ever Makers Mark Bourbon
House and Lounge. The 5,500-square-foot upscale restaurant will feature
an eclectic menu and, in addition to Makers Mark, bourbons from
each of Kentuckys distilleries. We are excited to partner
with the mayor and with the Cordish Company to add our small piece
to Americas newest and best entertainment district, Makers
Mark President Bill Samuels Jr., said in a recent press release announcing
the restaurant, which is hoped to be the first of several in select
cities across the country.
4th Street Live! is among several downtown revitalization projects
that altogether have resulted in more than $200 million worth of investments.
Among them are the Frazier Historical Arms Museum, Muhammad Ali Center,
Marriott Residence Inn, Wyndham Hotel, Preston Pointe, Fleur-de-Lis
Development, Cobalt-Bravura City Lofts, Park Place Lofts, Waterfront
Park Place and Cobalt Marketplace.
by Don Ward
Fourth Street Live.
It fits in really well. Its a key element in, number
one, getting people to come back downtown, said Barry Alberts,
executive director of the Downtown Development Corp.
Albert said the developments central location, in the middle
of downtown close to hotels, the convention center and housing, is
Although 4th Street Live! is expected to be a boon to overall business
in downtown Louisville, Matt Mershon, owner of Dekes Marketplace
Grill, said the development initially may have cost him a few customers.
Weve noticed a difference here since it opened. Were
seeing a smaller crowd on weeknights but we still get busy late on
weekends, said Mershon, whose restaurant is located just one
block away at the corner of Third and Market streets.
Alberts said thats to be expected with a new development. Some
(businesses) may have initially seen a drop. I think thats normal.
But I think in the long term everybody pretty much agrees that having
thousands of people downtown who otherwise would not be there will
be good. I think people have been pleasantly surprised and to some
extent amazed at the impact of the project so far. The number of people
coming to downtown has surpassed everyones expectations.
Cordish is among them. The company announced recently that it has
increased its projected attendance from 3.5 million to more than 4.2
million visitors a year.
Over 300,000 people have visited 4th Street Live! since its
initial opening less than one month ago, said Cordish partner
and director of national operations Zed Smith. There were many
sophisticated people who told us prior to starting that this project
was impossible, that people would never come to downtown Louisville
for entertainment. Well, people are voting with their feet and they
are coming in droves. We are absolutely thrilled with the results
Back to August 2004 Articles.