JEFFERSONVILLE — A new expansive residential development is in the works on the banks of the Ohio River in Jeffersonville.
The site of the proposed complex is well-known to most residents, as it was previously home to the eatery Rocky's — which closed its doors last year after 41 years in business. Early plans call for a total of 138 apartment units split between both sides of Riverside Drive, encompassing the former Rocky's property and the two parking lots across the street on each side of the flood wall.
Behind the project are Mike Kapfhammer and Wes Johnson of KJ Development. The team also runs the neighboring Buckhead Mountain Grill, which will not be affected by the development.
“We’re still in the very early design stages," said Johnson, adding that he hopes to start construction by early 2020. "We have some outlines as far as what we’d like. There's lots of work to do with the architects and engineers."
On the riverfront side of the property will be 16 "townhome-style," two-story buildings, with a single apartment unit on each level. The design, Johnson said, will have more aesthetic qualities rather than being a traditional stacked duplex. There will also be parking, either in the form of garages or carports.
"Those will be great, with a view right on the riverfront looking at downtown Louisville," Johnson said. "Those units will be one and two bedroom. We’re still working at size and configuration. They'll probably be a little larger than typical one and two bedroom apartments."
The remaining 106 units will be on the opposite side of Riverside Drive, where a four-story tower is set to be built on top of a pedestal straddling the flood wall. Parking will remain at the ground level beneath the roughly 15-foot high pedestal.
Amenities will include a workout room and a couple of gathering places for residents and their visitors. According to Johnson, most of the units will be one-bedroom, with some two-bedroom and a "handful" of studios.
“We’re thrilled to be at the stage where we are with the approvals we’ve received from the city," Johnson said. "Those are big steps. We still have some work to do with the Army Corps of Engineers and the flood control district. That will take another handful of months as we design layouts.”
Some of those approvals came at Tuesday's Jeffersonville City Council meeting, where rezoning requests for the property were approved after receiving favorable recommendations from the plan commission.
"The idea is very good from a conceptual perspective," council and plan commission member Dustin White said. "Representatives from the Harbours were there. They had worked with the developer, and they like it. I was pleased with it, and so was the plan commission.”
Fellow plan commission member Duard Avery said the project fits perfectly with the city's initiative to attract 700 new permanent residents to the area immediately surrounding Big Four Station Park. With a permanent residential presence, Avery said, comes improved safety and economic vitality, making the section of Jeffersonville a more "dynamic area."
"You’re going to have a nice addition to the urban downtown development," Avery said. "Jeff is creating significant growth and development. You’re seeing across-the-board improvement. That goal of 700 new downtown residents in the Big Four Park area is coming to fruition."