LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A developer out of Atlanta has purchased over 300 units in West Louisville in a nearly $30 million deal.
Some are raising concerns, wondering what the transition from a local to corporate landlord will do for West Louisville residents.
The deal cost Atlanta-based developer Benimax $27 million to take over 308 apartment units across West Louisville according to Bill Menish, who was the broker in the deal.
However, some aren't so sure of the developer coming in.
"The gentrification debate is a real honest debate. We do need investment, but we don't need displacement," Kevin Fields Sr., the president and CEO of the Louisville Central Community Center, said.
The total average monthly rent for all 308 units in the deal is $827. However, the pro forma rate, which outlines earning potential for Benimax, brings that to $1,019, which could possibly mean a rise in rent.
Fields said he's excited and encouraged about the new Norton West Louisville hospital on the way and Goodwill's Opportunity Campus, but he's skeptical seeing outsiders coming in and buying up properties.
"They want to be the first in line to take advantage of these capital investments coming into West Louisville," he said.
However, Menish, the owner of SVN Menish Commercial Real Estate, said he believes in this company's vision for Louisville, saying they're not here to clean house.
"I love the fact that Benimax actually kept the entire staff that was with Mirage, and they are so in the know when it comes to especially Section 8, and the West Louisville homes," Menish said.
He said as far as the concern for them being out of reach to tenants, he feels they will be making a conscious effort to remain available and local.
"I also sold them a beautiful home right on the river, just outside of Prospect. And that is where they're going to be, here, their team, every time that they're here working on the properties, working with the tenants," Menish said.
Fields said he is still concerned about the developer not having the West End's best interest in mind.
"They're not of the neighborhood, they're not indigenous, therefore, they won't be living in these neighborhoods, they won't be raising children, and raising families in these neighborhoods," he said.
Menish said he expects this new team to be hands-on just as the local owners were. He also said the local developer Mirage Property Management from the deal sold off another portion of their mostly single-family home properties to a Texas-based Developer in December 2021. This makes the entire sale combined around $52 million.
Fields said they even have opportunities like the Economic Mobility Summit they plan to host on Oct. 21 to allow this developer to truly share its intentions for the community and answer the community's questions.
WHAS11 reached out to Benimax directly but has yet to hear back.