The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) released renderings for a mixed-use development in Louisville, Ky., that will serve as a new facility for the production, sale, and distribution of food. Located on a former tobacco plant at 30th Street between Market Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, the project aims to leverage direct contact between consumers and local producers, while integrating a variety of programs that incorporate all stages of the food chain.
The 24-acre Food Port will provide facilities for retail, demonstration farming, indoor urban farming, and controlled environment growing as well as classrooms, a kitchen incubator, offices, a recycling facility, library, garden, and food truck plaza. The design is organized to accommodate future expansion in the "foodie" city. The estimated $50 million project is expected to create nearly 200 new jobs, according to an OMA press release.
In collaboration with nonprofit organization Seed Capital Kentucky, OMA is hoping to rejuvenate the vacant site—once the home of a tobacco warehouse—and the surrounding neighborhoods into an active economic and social space. The Food Port builds on the city's position within the inland waterway and the city's legacy as a shipping port. OMA's plan also builds upon Louisville's street grid, which rotates at different angles from neighborhood to neighborhood, by positioning the Food Port facilities and programs at different angles to maintain its orientation to the Ohio River.
Groundbreaking is projected for late summer in 2015, with businesses opening in phases.