LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A project that is transforming an 80-year-old public housing complex in the Russell neighborhood is helping fight off its negative reputation.

The first two phases of Beecher Terrace is making progress. The public housing building has had a reputation as a high-crime and trouble area.

Crews gave WHAS11 reporters a first look inside Monday. 

"It's really starting to take shape and starting to look like a building," project manager, Alex Hunn said. "This is kind of like the bridge between downtown Louisville and the Russell neighborhood."

Crews broke ground in March 2019 but started demolition in 2018.

Hunn said crews have finished framing the structure of 640 units.

"We're currently installing the windows, putting the glass in, getting the building dried in, and the roof is almost complete," Hunn said.

Phase one is a four-story senior housing building and phase two is 108 units dedicated to families.

"Mixed in amongst all the trades have been people we've been able to hire out of the community in the Russell neighborhood that are physically working here," Hunn said. 

Courtney Robinson is one out of about 50 construction workers working on the project. He is helping rebuild the home he made memories in.

"My grandmother and uncles actually stayed here in the late 50s and all the way to the 60s, they were some of the first to be here," Robinson said. "It wasn't the best place for people to live. Over the years it was going down but it was always comfortable for me because I had family that still lived here." 

Vision Russell is the initiative overseeing the redevelopment under the Louisville Metro Housing Authority. The group received a 29.5 million grant. The group received an additional $4 million grant from Louisville's Choice Neighborhood program in December 2019.  

Phase one and phase two should be finished by fall 2020. The last of the units will be completed by 2025.

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