Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher Officially Unveils State-of-the-Art Structure for the City of Louisville

Press Release Date:  Thursday, February 09, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Lauren Reed

Bold new design is the most artistic in the region

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher along with Mayor Jerry Abramson and other Louisville leaders officially unveiled the striking plans for Museum Plaza, which will be located in downtown Louisville.  Designed by the world-renowned Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Museum Plaza, which is anticipated to cost $380 million, will be a work of art itself and serve as an icon, extending and connecting the arts and entertainment corridor in downtown Louisville.

Governor Fletcher Officially Unveils State-of-the-Art Structure for the City of LouisvilleStanding at more than 61 stories, or 703 feet high, it will offer Louisville and Kentucky residents a distinctive new venue for arts, living space, education and shopping.  Museum Plaza will house two museums, a hotel offering some 300 rooms, office space, luxury condominiums, residential lofts, and retail businesses, including restaurants, a farmers market, a grocery store, dry cleaners and coffee shops.

Museum Plaza will house Louisville’s largest contemporary art museum as well as the University of Louisville's Master of Fine Arts program. It will be located at the corner of Seventh Street and River Road downtown.

“My administration is committed to Museum Plaza and to the city of Louisville,” said Governor Fletcher. “I am committed to making Kentucky’s cities the dynamic engine of economic opportunity we need to compete in the 21st century. This progressive initiative is a key component in our efforts to keep moving Kentucky forward.”

“Museum Plaza is a bold and exciting project that reflects an extraordinary commitment to Louisville and continues the momentum of progress downtown,” said Mayor Abramson.

Museum Plaza is the vision of Louisville residents Laura Lee Brown, Steve Wilson, Craig Greenberg and Steve Poe, who share a common passion for downtown revitalization. Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, whose family has extensive holdings in Brown-Forman Corp., are Louisville investors and contemporary art collectors. They are completing a downtown development which contains a 90-room boutique hotel, a gallery and restaurant.

Steve Poe is the owner of Poe Companies, a Louisville-based real estate development firm. He is known in the industry and community for utilizing an entrepreneurial approach to development, conquering complex projects and creating strategic partnerships. He is a partner in the recently opened Louisville Marriott Downtown and the planned River Park Place development in Louisville's Waterfront Park.

"No single component of this building by itself is big, but when all components are combined, this building becomes both unique and immense," said Poe. "Just like many people have collaborated to create this design, many people, including our elected officials, have come together to make this building a reality.  It shows that when good people work together, great things can be accomplished for our city and the commonwealth."

Museum Plaza is under design by OMA New York. Led by partner Joshua Prince-Ramus and associate Erez Ella, OMA has received international media mention for the Museum Plaza design due to their focus on innovative design and thoughtful space considerations given constraints imposed by existing downtown structures.

"Ever since we saw the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, we've asked why not Louisville?" said Steve Wilson. "Since that time it has been our dream to actually make that happen. OMA has understood our mission and their designs exceeded our wildest expectations."

"The more we are exposed to Louisville, the more we see it is not only capable of great things, but already achieving them," Joshua Prince-Ramus said. "I can't imagine New York executing a project like Louisville's waterfront redevelopment with the same speed and coherence. We're shocked when asked if Louisville is ready for a project like Museum Plaza. It's been ready for a while."

This iconic building expects a daily traffic flow of 10,500 people. To accommodate the expected increase in downtown traffic, more than 1,000 parking spaces will be built inside the structure, as well as moving the flood wall and reconnecting River Road. It also includes completion of the public plaza area along the waterfront, between the Muhammad Ali Center at Sixth Street and the Frazier Historical Arms Museum at Ninth Street.

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