a long-term project for La Grange
business is slow
but will pay off in the long run, experts say
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (August 2009) Even though it
may be 17 to 20 years before the Oldham Reserve Business Campus is completed
in La Grange, the development has the potential to grow the countys
economy in a very positive way, officials say. Many residents and county
officials believe it is a step in the right direction for Oldham County.
estimated that when fully developed, Oldham Reserve will generate
$5.3 million in additional sales on local economy.
It is expected to generate 800 spin-off jobs for each 2,000
created on the campus.
In regard to a new tax base, Oldham Reserve will generate
$8.3 million annually in additional property tax.
In 2008, Oldham Reserve generated $126,000 in property tax
on the 67 acres occupied by The Rawlings Group, as compared to $8,300
on 1,000 acres in 2005 when the property was acquired.
If an occupational tax were levied in the future to reduce
the burden on residential property tax, Oldham Reserve would contribute
approximately $4.7 million annually.
We know the development will be simple and special
and offer Oldham County residents a special place to live, work and
play, said Deana Epperly Karem, executive director of the Oldham
County Chamber of Commerce and Interim Director of the Oldham County
Economic Development Authority (OCEDA).
Plans have been in the works for quite some time for this 1,000 acre
mixed-use office, commercial and residential campus which was originally
labeled Eden Park. In 2005, OCEDA purchased the property from Badgett
Properties LLC of Madisonville, Ky., for nearly $10 million.
Oldham Reserve is a long-term project, said Karem. It
will be a 20-year investment of time, energy and money before it is
She said it is anticipated that the complex would include a variety
of housing that would attract residents seeking a local, unique and
quality lifestyle. A mix of residential acreage would include high-end
to medium priced homes. The mixed-use campus would also include shopping,
entertainment, possible medical offices, a school and much more, said
Plans for Oldham Reserve focus on attracting a knowledge-based
economy, Karem said. She believes the campus is appealing to regional
headquarters, financial service industries and similar high-end work
styles, which equates to new buildings and new business opportunities
for all of Oldham County. Any new commercial development helps to grow
the Oldham County economy.
Oldham Reserve offers tremendous opportunity to create additional
tax revenues, said Don Basham, Board Chair for Oldham-La Grange
Development Authority (OLDA). OLDA is an industrial development authority
created in 2005 by Oldham Fiscal Court and the La Grange City Council
for the purpose of owning and developing the 1,000 acre Oldham Reserve.
Basham said Oldham Reserve will contribute greatly to diversifying
the Oldham County tax base. Currently, 88 percent of the total
property tax assessment is residential compared to 65 percent statewide,
and that percentage continues to rise.
As a rule, more property tax revenues are generated from office
and retail activities than from residential. It is anticipated that
Oldham Reserve will generate approximately 11,000 high wage jobs.
The Rawlings Group was the anchor tenant for Oldham Reserve. The
Rawlings Group set the bar for the type of business we would like to
see move in, Karem said.
Since May, OCEDA has received several serious inquires about the campus.
Basham said that approximately 70 percent of Oldham County residents
work outside of the county, with 58 percent in Jefferson County.
Oldham Reserve will offer those same residents an alternative
to work in Oldham County, thereby reducing their commuting time and
expense each day.
The campus will offer alternatives to those who are not Oldham County
residents. It may also shorten their commute time, reduce commuting
costs and offer the chance to become residents.
OCEDA commissioned an economic impact study of the campus that was conducted
by Dr. Paul Coomes, Ph.D. in April 2008. Coomes is a professor of economics
and National City Research Fellow at the University of Louisville College
of Business and Public Administration. After studying the data and considering
available opportunities, Coomes said he felt that this site has
a high long-range potential for hosting some high end suburban-exurban
Coomes said Oldham County is the best fit among suburban counties for
an office campus-type development due to three aspects: the very high
educational levels of residents; the long commutes to Jefferson County
many professionals have to make; and the ambience of the county and
preferences of residents for tasteful development.
Patience is the key, said Coomes. The challenge is
that the Louisville market is not growing that fast, and La Grange is
a long ways out from even Jefferson County suburban office developments
that are not yet fully developed. Certain types of office operations
can locate away from large city downtowns and be closer to where their
employees choose to live.
Karem pointed out that it is extremely important for the city and Fiscal
Court to lend their support to this campus project. Both Fiscal
Court and the La Grange City Council have been very enthusiastic about
this development. I think the leadership of the county knows this is
important and they are committed to assuring its success.
Community support is also invaluable to this project. Its
most important that the community continue to provide the resources
in which to grow the infrastructure necessary to recruit these businesses,
she said. The development of sewage capacity, technology and roads
will be critical to its success.
For more information, contact the Oldham
County Chamber of Commerce at (502) 222-1635 or visit: www.OldhamCountyChamber.com
Back to August 2009 Articles.