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On Friday of this week, the Oldham-La Grange Development Authority and Talmage Hocker, president of The Hocker Group LLC, are expected to sign an agreement forming a partnership to develop the Oldham Reserve Business Campus. This will mark the first public/private partnership for both entities.
Oldham Reserve is a 1,000-acre planned unit development located off of I-71 at exit 22 in La Grange. The campus will house a mixture of retail, office and residential uses.
The development of the campus is made possible through an interlocal agreement between Oldham County Fiscal Court and the La Grange City Council. Each entity issued $10 million in general obligation bonds to purchase the property and develop initial infrastructure improvements. This is an important investment in the future of our county.
Oldham Reserve will create a signature development and corporate campus that should attract the finest companies in the region to compliment our distinction as the metropolitan area’s finest residential community. In Oldham County the current balance between residential and commercial/retail development is askew with 88 percent of the total property assessment being residential.
Dr. Paul Coomes, a Professor of Economics and National City Research Fellow with the University of Louisville, has estimated that the campus will generate between $8 to $14 million in additional local tax revenues annually. Since The Rawlings Company, Oldham Reserve’s first tenant, moved to Oldham County the property is already generating an increase of $112,000 in tax revenues per year.
Dr. Coomes further estimates that approximately 11,000 high paying private sector jobs will be created on the Oldham Reserve campus when completely developed. When The Rawlings Company announced its move to Oldham County, it became the largest private employer in the County with just six employees living in Oldham County. Today it employs more than 115 Oldham County residents. Dr. Coomes further estimates that another 4,000 jobs will be created elsewhere in the county as the property is developed. This will provide $5.3 million annually in increased revenue to local businesses.
Today, more companies are looking to locate where the workforce lives and job seekers want to work near their employer. Dr. Coomes estimates that an Oldham County resident who switches from a job in Jefferson County to one at Oldham Reserve can save about $1,500 – $3,000 per year in auto, parking and other commuting costs.
According to Dr. Coomes, with our educated workforce, quality of life, and accessible location, Oldham Reserve is in a unique position within the metropolitan region to attract the finest corporate office complexes being developed. The Rawlings Company move to Oldham Reserve was the beginning. Now we must build on our success.
This week’s signing marks a time in our community’s future. The development of Oldham Reserve will change the business landscape of Oldham County forever.
In the end, it will diversify our tax base, provide quality jobs for our children and allow us to be a premier retail, office, and residential environment for years to come.
Don Basham is the chairman of the Oldham-La Grange Development Authority board. The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.