Collegiate's Plans to Demolish Yorktown Apartments Tabled for Further Research
The Cherokee Triangle Architecture Review Committee held a public hearing today to get further details on Louisville Collegiate School's proposed plans to demolish a low income apartment complex located within the neighborhood. They heard from residents, some in favor and some opposed.
Public opinions begin at the 36:45 mark.
While there were several in favor of the proposed plans, two tenants of the apartments themselves as well as a significant number of other neighborhood residents spoke out in opposition of demolishing the complex. One of those people were none other than Councilperson Cassie Chambers-Armstrong, currently over the district in which Cherokee Triangle is located. A spokesperson from her office read a prepared statement as she could not be in attendance. She expressed concerns of displacing citizens while there is already a houseless pandemic happening in the city. She also expressed concerns of this bring down equity and inclusivity for her district. She also recommends that Collegiate pays the relocation expenses
One tenant expressed concerns that Collegiate signed a year lease with him AFTER they had completed their plans to demolish and he will now be displaced before the end of that lease with Alltrade Property Management. Another resident stated that he was a 5 time stroke victim that had recently moved to Louisville. He expressed his love of the area and his concern that he might have to move to a "ghetto" if he was displaced by these plans. He asked all the representatives of Collegiate if they would like to move to a "ghetto," but no response was given. He also stated that the gentlemen representing the school at this meeting were giving different information than the employees at Alltrade Property Management. He asserted that even though the Cherokee Triangle ARC was being told that Allstate would take on relocation costs, that their employees in their office were saying there was nothing they could do to assist.
Neighbors also spoke out in opposition of the plans. One offered a number of already existing parking lots within the area that she had already contacted the owners and discussed the potential of the school leasing them for use. Many were on board for a discussion to further this idea. Another discussed Collegiate's history of purchasing properties in the neighborhood only to let them deteriorate so they can later demolish.
After one of the gentlemen representing Collegiate expressed that they had been a staple in the community for nearly 100 years, one resident asked how many permits they've applied for in that 100 years to demolish buildings in the area. They were unable to answer this question with any significant data, but one previous board member of the school who was in the audience offered that although they can't supply that information currently, Collegiate has never demolished any private residences until this proposition. One resident strongly disagreed and began to list homes that had been appropriated by the school in the past.
Tempers flared from this point on with speakers attempting to talk over one another. The Cherokee Triangle ARC then questioned if Collegiate in light of the opposition of neighbors, was still interested in going through with their proposed plan. When it was determined that would like to continue forward with the process, ARC decided to table their vote for further discussion and to allow Collegiate more time to network with the community that surrounds them. Technical difficulties lead to us being unable to capture the final moments of the hearing.
Out of the 48 units, 32 are currently leased and those tenants are in danger of eventual eviction. The average rent is $425-745, significantly lower than the average for the area. We will be following up with this story as it develops.
Louisville Collegiate School, one of Louisville most prestigious private schools has proposed plans to tear down the Yorktown Apartments, a three building complex that houses up to 48 residence, many lower income. Their reasoning is to construct a parking lot for their Cherokee Triangle Campus. Their belief is that even though this would be "unfortunate" for residence of the complex, that it would also help to "alleviate neighborhood traffic."
Louisville's Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts issues a report, supplied here by WFPL, suggesting there be a certificate submitted stating that the demolition of the complex would not harm local preservation goals. The certificate application submitted by the Cherokee Triangle Architectural Review Committee states that the complex is “in a dire state of disrepair and unusable for habitation.”
Cullen Jones, the group’s vice president for business development, said in an email that two-thirds of all units were occupied as of Tuesday afternoon, and that the average cost of rent was $650. - WFPL
Elizabeth Post, a public relations executive representing Collegiate, said the school’s student body and staff have grown over recent years. There were 647 enrolled students and 132 employees during the 2018-19 school year, she said, and those numbers have increased by about 20 and 17 percent, respectively. - WFPL
“It has been the practice of Louisville Collegiate School to acquire properties adjacent to its campus as they become available, simply because Collegiate is in a landlocked position,” Post said. -WFPL
There have been mixed responses by the neighborhood residence. While some believe that the increased enrollment has lead to increased traffic and increased danger in the neighborhood, many residents of the complex are obviously upset about the potential displacement.
"As a mom with three young children, who walks her kiddos to and from school and preschool every day, this proposal will make myself and my children safer," said Kris Rawley, a resident of Ransdell Avenue. "It makes us safer because it decreases traffic through the neighborhood streets during Collegiate's drop off and pick up times, the same times my children and I are walking, biking, scootering, and sometimes skipping to school." - WDRB
"They're basically throwing us out ... We have no place to go, other than the streets," he told WDRB News in a brief interview at the apartment complex Tuesday. "... All the places they have are too expensive for anybody to rent. It's like double the rent here." - WDRB