Actual construction work has been underway for a few weeks on the Angel’s Envy Distillery in Downtown Louisville, near Slugger Field on East Main Street. Sullivan & Cozart is the general contractor for the project. Joseph & Joseph Architects is providing the design. Construction costs were earlier announced at approximately $12 million. After a long run-up, the demolition of a portion of the existing Vermont American complex was recently completed, and active renovation work on the remaining building is currently viewable. The Angel’s Envy distillery will join the Evan Williams Experience and other Downtown Louisville bourbon-oriented attractions and distilleries in providing tourist destinations and branding to the city. The photo of the interior appeared in the Courier Journal. For additional press coverage:
The Louisville, Lexington, Indianapolis and Tri-State (Evansville) chapters of the Construction Financial Managers Association will hold the biennial Ohio Valley Construction Conference at the Horshoe Hotel and Casino in Elizabeth, Indiana (Metro Louisville) on October 22-23, 2015. Speakers have yet to be announced. You may RSVP for the conference to Jeff Nuttall at email@example.com
In the wee hours of the morning today, the Kentucky Senate and House voted to stabilize Kentucky’s Road Fund. Votes were taken upon a conference committee report developed by members of both the House and Senate, with the House passing the measure 67-29 and the Senate 29-9.
The vote stabilizes the Road Fund with a tax fixed at 26 cents per gallon effective April 1, 2015. The tax on motor fuels in Kentucky will drop from 27.6 cents per gallon currently to the 26.0 cents. However, this decrease is in contrast to a decrease of over 5 cents that would have otherwise occurred. The 26 cents tax will be in place until July 1, 2016, by which time it is hoped next year’s legislative session might address the issue more thoroughly. The law also limits the downward adjustment of the tax in the future to 10% per year, to match the 10% increase limitation already in place. 32 states tax motor fuels at a flat rate. Kentucky used to be part of that group, but during the upswing in gas prices some years ago, shifted to a percentage approach like 14 states, causing more uncertainty.
The tax had already dropped from just under 32 cents per gallon to the 27.6 cent figure. Dropping further down to around 22 cents would cost the state over $250 million in revenue for roadway improvements (all of the money collected goes to the state road fund specifically or to county and city roads).
The industry is still awaiting action in Washington to fix the highway trust fund, however. The federal tax–18.3 cents per gallon, has not been increased since 1993.
According to the Associated General Contractors in a story published March 6, 2015, construction employment numbers have increased, and unemployment has decreased, to almost pre-Recession numbers.
The figures by AGC, which are tabulated at least in party by Department of Labor figures as well as some input from the industry itself, show that construction employment totaled 6,353,000 in February 2015. According to the story, this is the highest mark since February 2009, with a 12-month gain of 321,000 jobs.
In a prior article on this site, KentuckyConstruction.com reported that Louisville Metro jobs increased over 3,500 in the past year (December 2013 to December 2014).
Concern was expressed, however, for highway and transit employment outlook given continued uncertainty in regards to the Highway Trust Fund’s status.
“Association officials said that employment in highway and transit construction was at risk if Congress and the Obama administration fail to find a way to pay for, and enact, a long-term federal highway and transit bill. They said that even as many states take measures to cope with declining federal transportation funding, if Washington can’t pass a bill by May 31 when current legislation expires, some firms may have to reduce staff. “
Since the summer of 2014, the Finance Cabinet had been advertising for proposals from public-private consortiums to design, build, maintain and operate a new 350,000+ square-foot office building at Sower Boulevard in Frankfort, Ky. The first procurement attempt in October resulted in a re-issuance of the RFP, with the “second round” of proposals due December 2nd.
The Finance Cabinet’s RFP states that it is procuring the office space under the “Build to Suit” option under KRS 56.8161, which allows the Finance Cabinet to contract for office space either on privately-owned or publicly-owned (but privately funded construction) property.
Although there has been little press on any award, a Development Plan was submitted to the Frankfort Planning and Zoning office on February 11, 2015. The submission was made by John Carman, a landscape architect, copying D.W. Wilburn officers. Also included were renderings indicating the EOP Architect and DW Wilburn are the primary design and construction entities involved, with developer CMR involved as well. The bid for the project is currently unknown, but the RFP structure called for proposals to be submitted in multiple ways, varying the annual rent, square footage, and lease term as competitive variables. It is estimated that the project would exceed $50 million in construction costs.
This project is an attempt by the Commonwealth to use the limited amount of authority it has to engaged in public-private partnerships for state needs. Last year a broad P3 statute was passed by the Kentucky Legislature with broad support, but was vetoed by Gov. Beshear, presumably because it contained language barring the use of tolls on a future Brent Spence Bridge replacement project. Over 34 states now have broad P3-enabling legislation, and it is hoped that Kentucky can soon join their ranks.
Between December 2013 and December 2014, the Louisville Metro added more than 3,500 jobs. As WDRB reports, the Louisville Bridges laid the foundation for this recovery in construction jobs. Other notable projects that have helped put construction workers to work in Louisville include:
Embassy Suites Hotel, 4th Street Live Louisville (Bosse Mattingly)
Hilton Garden Inn, 4th Street (Bosse Mattingly)
Aloft Hotel (Whittenberg)
Ford Truck Plant (Abel Construction)
LG&E (Black & Veatch)
NUCLEUS Haymarket (Sullivan Cozart)
UL Soccer Stadium (Abel Construction)
Louisville added more jobs per capita (15%) over the last 12 months than Indianapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Cincinnati or Charlotte. As previously reported, last month saw a 6% increase in jobs, compared to a 15% increase this month in year-over-year numbers.
On January 28, 2015, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced that their transportation agencies have made the first of many firm, specific commitments to bring long-needed upgrades to the Brent Spence Bridge corridor, which will include a new bridge in Downtown Cincinnati over the Ohio River.
Key components of the commitment include:
* Kentucky and Ohio will split toll revenues evenly between them;
* a 50% discount will be given for frequent commuters; and
* a la the Louisville Bridges Project, innovative design and finance approaches will be sought to reduce current cost estimates.
The two states have set March 30th as the date by which more specifics on the plan will be announced.
The Aloft Hotel being developed by Poe Companies and under construction by Whittenberg Construction is rising in Downtown Louisville. The (approximately) $25 million hotel will feature just over 170 rooms within its eight stories. It is being constructed on the corner of First and Main Streets, and will feature an upscale WXYX bar on the ground floor, adding another nightlife hotspot to the KFC Yum! Center area.
While the first location is just getting underway, plans for a second Aloft hotel (a Starwood brand) were recently announced on Westport Road, this one a smaller, five-story, 120+ room version proposed by Lexington-based developer Patrick Madden.
Today a meeting was held in Frankfort at the KaCo office building for stakeholders in the Next Generation Kentucky Information Highway Project. A Public-Private Partnership (P3), the KIH will eventually be comprised of over 3,000 miles of new broadband fiber. The Commonwealth recently announced its preferred offeror on the Project, a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DMFOM) styled P3 where the Commonwealth will actually own the broadband lines.
Australia-based Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd leads a team including Black & Veatch and Fujitsu for design and construction of the Project as well as FirstSolutions of Seattle. Current providers and owners of existing fiber lines were on hand to discuss partnering with Macquarie’s consortium. Pricing from the P3 consortium will be submitted to the Finance Cabinet at the end of February.
Although other states have supported broadband expansion with public funding, no other state has undertaken such a large-scale leap forward its broadband infrastructure. The public funding component is a mix of federal grants and state funds secured through the bipartisan efforts of Congressman Hal Rogers and Governor Steve Beshear.
Wild Turkey’s new Visitor Center recently won an American Institute of Architects award for 2015 Architecture.
The Project team included De Leon & Primmer as Architects and Lichtefeld as General Contractor.