April 25, 2023 10:25am
Investor Perspective: Investing in Downtown brings new growth
The Louisville Downtown Partnership released the 2022 Economic Impact Report earlier this year, demonstrating the critical role Downtown plays in our city’s economic health.
Downtown represents less than a half of one percent of Louisville’s land area, yet compared to the rest of the Metro has the largest job center of all workers, receives the largest attendance by visitors and guests than anywhere else in Louisville, and has the largest concentration of attractions, hotels, and office space. Annual wages and salaries of Downtown workers are nearly $20,000 more than the average county-wide wage, generating $4.5 billion in income and $83.6 million in occupational taxes.
In addition to the 5,000 people who live in Downtown, the Economic Impact Report showed that individuals from every corner of the city and beyond either work in the downtown area or visit attractions, frequent restaurants, or attend events and festivals, which reinforces the city center as Louisville’s economic engine. There were more than 5.7 million visits to Louisville in 2022, which is more than seven times Louisville’s population.
Approximately 900,000 individuals attended a convention in Downtown during 2022 with an estimated economic impact of $175 million, almost 150,000 more people than 2021. That economic spin-off helps locally owned businesses and companies, while also generating additional tax revenues for our city and state. Additionally, 2022 attendance to Downtown bourbon experiences surpassed 2019 attendance numbers, the highest attendance since Evan Williams opened the first bourbon experience in 2013, by more than 100,000 people. With the largest number of tourist attractions, Downtown is where people naturally visit, and we must be ready for them.
These numbers are important as we consider the tax revenues generated in Downtown and what they help fund citywide. Downtown property, net profit, and occupational taxes total more than $120 million which go directly into Louisville Metro’s budget, helping pay for services and infrastructure costs across all 380 square miles of our city. If Downtown doesn’t do well, the whole city will suffer, solidifying why investment in basic infrastructure and beautification is so important for the health of the city.
Currently, there is more than $1 billion of investment in Downtown projects that have been announced or are underway, demonstrating confidence in Downtown as a strong neighborhood to invest, develop, and do business. As a result, these projects will produce even more tax revenues that benefit our city.
Even as employers decide what to do about their workforce returning to the office (you should definitely return!), Downtown is healthy and we must work to keep it an attractive hub of activity and investment. No matter where home is, or whether you are a regular user of Downtown, the vibrancy and success of Louisville depends on the vibrancy and success of Downtown. And we can all toast to that.