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'This is just the beginning of what is yet to come': Louisville nonprofit transforms vacant west Louisville homes into opportunities

It's an effort to revitalize rather than gentrify, and that's what one Louisville nonprofit has in store as well for the community.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — West Louisville has seen a number of announcements for businesses and new plans over the last couple of months in an effort to build the community up while preserving its culture.

It's an effort to revitalize rather than gentrify, and that's what one Louisville nonprofit has in store as well for the community.

"This is just the beginning of what is yet to come," Cory Bailey of Bailey Construction said.

That excitement is coming from the construction of two new restaurants in west Louisville.

But what makes these so special?

"The community has invested in it, to make it affordable so that the chefs can grow in place in the community and grow into other facilities in the community, hopefully," Evon Smith the OneWest CEO said.

OneWest is a nonprofit in town working to drive investments into West Louisville.

Through partnerships with programs like Chef Space, she says these new opportunities are going to be valuable for culinary entrepreneurs while also keeping it local.

"We want to see black ownership where possible, we want to see wealth creation and equity. But most notably, we want that to happen in tandem with black owned businesses in the West End and black people from the West End, as well as a collaboration with leaders from across the city," Smith said.

The project combines two vacant houses in the Russell neighborhood, turning them into state of the art restaurants and kitchens for chefs to grow.

"The greatest part is that you're taking these historic homes, and you are bringing them back and then making them into something that is going to be like the pride of the West, it's going to be awesome," Bailey said.

"We have set over 70,000 residents that deserve to have resources in close proximity to where they live. And they are currently spending more than $475 million and discretionary spending. So it would only make sense for investment to come here because the community has been supportive of every other quadrant of the city," Smith said.

Credit: OneWest

Cory Bailey, the COO and Business Development Manager for Bailey Construction says it's an honor for them to be a part of this project as this area is a place he knows and loves.

"I grew up in this neighborhood, and then to be right back here working on a project with OneWest. I mean, you couldn't make this up if you wanted to. This is awesome," Bailey said.

Smith and her team saying they are happy to see the support from people all over West Louisville, including the city itself.

"It's nice to know that your project is going to be able to go all the way through and be confident in the fact that it will be funded from the beginning to the end," said John Hilliard the OneWest Construction Manager.

For more information on OneWest and their projects, click here.

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