What type of housing the median income in Jefferson County can get you in the downtown central business district and nearby urban neighborhoods. Jeff Faughender, Louisville Courier Journal
The only thing Louisville might brag on more than its bourbon is its cost of living.
Your dollars go farther here in the Derby City than they would in the bustling metro hubs on the East and West coasts.
You can rent a good-sized apartment here for what you might pay to share a bedroom in New York.
Or depending on where you're looking, you can get quite a bit more.
There's a resurgence going on in the downtown Central Business District and its edge neighborhoods that's unlike anything Louisville has ever seen before.
And with it, there's been a dramatic uptick in luxury living.
The median household income in Jefferson County is $50,099, according to the United States Census Bureau’s most recent data from 2016.
Experts typically suggest spending no more than 30 percent of your income on housing.
So with rent and utility expenses in mind, we took a spin through the listings to see what kind of housing was available for about $1,150 a month in downtown and its edge neighborhoods.
Whether you're looking for a modest, three-bedroom house or a luxury studio in a hot area, you can find it in the city's core on a median income.
Where: 310 at NuLu at 310 S. Hancock St., A2 model
Size: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 612-square-feet
Price: $893 to $896
Amenities: This modern, urban apartment is just three years old and has a dishwasher, vaulted ceilings, walk-in closets and in-unit washer and dryer. The building has a 24-hour fitness center.
The Neighborhood: 310 at NuLu sits just a block off Market Street and a short walk from neighborhood hotspots like Garage Bar, Please & Thank You coffee house and Royals Hot Chicken. In the past decade this neighborhood has emerged as a hotspot of entertainment and development, due largely to the investments of local developer Gill Holland.
From a local — Maggie Hoy, owner Sweets by Millie:
“NuLu is full of local small businesses, many owned by young entrepreneurs like myself, and it is a very supportive business community,” she said.
“I've seen so many changes and developments in the neighborhood, despite only having been here for about two and a half years.”
“New to the neighborhood is Nouvelle Wine bar, it's less than a block from the bakery, it has become my go-to spot for a glass of wine after a long day of making cookies. The beer garden at Louisville Beer Store is a hidden oasis, and the perfect shaded patio to enjoy a refreshing cold one on a hot summer day.”
Rental source: apartmentfinder.com
Waterside at River Park Place (Photo: Jeff Faughender/Louisville Courier Journal)
Where: 1500 River Shore Drive at Waterside at River Park Place
Size: One bedroom, one bath, 680-square-feet
Price: $975 to $985
Amenities: These one-bedroom apartment homes come with fully furnished open kitchens, natural maple-style raised cabinetry and granite counter tops. Some models feature spa-inspired bathrooms and in-unit washers and dryers.
The Neighborhood: Waterside at River Park Place sits on the far north edge of Butchertown near the Ohio River. Traditional apartments in this area are hard to come by. The upscale Main & Clay building opened near the NuLu and Butchertown border earlier this year, and more developments are expected to follow as the neighborhood continues to grow. Butchertown, which is named for the slaughtering plants it has historically been home to, has seen its rise in dining and entertainment in recent years with additions such Play Louisville, Copper & Kings brandy distillery and the Butcher Block retail district. The biggest development change is still yet to come with the addition of the new, 10,000-seat LouCity FC stadium in 2020.
From a local — Mark Prussian, owner Eye Care Institute
"In what other neighborhood do you find a brandy distillery, one of the houses Thomas Edison lived in and really cool condo lofts for sale?" he asked.
"Our restaurant scene keeps expanding from places that have been there for awhile like Butchertown Grocery to new places like Naïve."
In Butchertown: The LouCity soccer stadium isn't the only change coming
"I wish more people would know about some of the housing values on streets like Quincy and Washington. There’s still some really good bargains to be had."
"It’s a great place to live with more entertainment than people need in a day or a week."
Rental source: watersideatriverpark.com
Glassworks Lofts (Photo: Jeff Faughender/Louisville Courier Journal)
Downtown Central Business District
Where: Glassworks Lofts, 815 W. Market St.
Size: One bedroom, one bath, 900- to 1074-square-feet
Price: $1,090 to $1,300
Amenities: This building was renovated in in 2001. There's a dishwasher, but you're responsible for finding your own washer and dryer to go with the hookups. Water, sewer and trash bills are included with the cost of the rent.
The Neighborhood: The Glassworks Lofts are just a short walk from Museum Row, Whiskey Row and Waterfront Park. That area of downtown has seen a huge resurgence in recent years, and it's lush with dining and entertainment. The park is home to a variety of festivals such as the monthly Waterfront Wednesday concerts, Forecastle and the annual Christmas Tree Lane. Downtown genuinely struggled in the late 20th century and into the new millennium, but it's seen a dynamic resurgence in both business and resident interest in recent years. The Omni Louisville Hotel and the new Old Forester distillery are among more recent additions, and the Kentucky International Convention Center is slated to reopen this year after a $207 million renovation.
From a Local — Forest Ramsey, owner of Art Eatables
"We’ve got some really phenomenal neighbors. I love the fact that I can walk to so many places. There are so many great offering downs here, and it’s becoming much more vibrant. The food offerings are just off the charts. It’s only going to continue getting better, too."
"There’s just been a massive amount of construction and expansion, and I do look forward to the day when finally the construction is relatively complete down here."
"The distilleries started opening up for that bourbonism experience. When we moved in, the Hilton Garden Inn was quite literally a hole in the ground. We’ve watched the old Kentucky One building, too."
"This is the first 10 percent as far as I’m concerned, and it’s only going to keep getting better and better."
Rental source: rentcafe.com
800 Tower City Club Apartments (Photo: Jeff Faughender/Louisville Courier Journal)
Where: 800 Tower City Club Apartments, Plan A4, #202
Size: One bedroom, one bathroom
Amenities: This second floor apartment features energy-efficient appliances, oversized windows and ceiling fans. The building itself offers a boutique-style lobby, an onsite restaurant with outdoor dining, rooftop pool and a fitness center with an outdoor yoga patio. This property is just a short walk from the downtown Central Business District.
The Neighborhood: The name "SoBro" hasn't caught on the way that NuLu has, but there's very much a resurgence and emerging identity coming from the strip stretching from the south side of Broadway to Old Louisville. It's an area that's home to a few focal institutions, such as Spalding University, Presentation Academy, Lampton Baptist Church and the mid-century landmark The 800 Apartments bulidng, which was once Kentucky’s tallest building. SoBro in the second half of the 20th century had gained a reputation as a no-man's land between the Central Business District and historic Old Louisville. The city launched efforts in the early 2000s to rebrand and rejuvenate the neighborhood.
From a Local — Aric M. Andrew, president and CEO of Luckett-Farley
"We recently purchased the building next door to us and are completing the renovation of both buildings. ... We wanted to stay in the SoBro neighborhood for several reasons. The first is the proximity to the Central Business District in Louisville. However, our real motivation is the potential to grow and improve a neighborhood in our city."
"The potential seems obvious to us. SoBro is the major transportation link to the south, with University of Louisville and the airport, it contains several educational institutions, it’s been designated the 'Eco-District' by the city, and it holds the single greatest opportunity for a true live-work neighborhood for the next generation of Louisvillians."
"By the way, the Louisville Hotel has some really good fried chicken."
Rental source: cityclubapartments.com
621 S. 19th St. (Photo: Jeff Faughender/Louisville Courier Journal)
Where: 621 S. 19th St.
Size: Four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, 1,300-square-feet
Price: $950 per month
Amenities: This kitchen comes with a stove, refrigerator, a dishwasher and built-in microwave. There's a full unfinished basement with washer and dryer hookups. The house has its own, private backyard.
The Neighborhood: Before World War II, Russell was known as "Louisville's Harlem" for its strong African-American business presence. The neighborhood took a hard turn after the war, but it's seen revitalization in recent years through the Vision Russell initiative. The Beecher Terrace housing project is coming down and new mixed-income apartments are coming in. There's a new sprayground and musical playground equipment at Sheppard Park, and a new YMCA is underway.
From a Local — Jacki Thorp, neighborhood advocate
"We are feisty and we are a caring bunch of people in the Russell neighborhood," she said.
"The houses are so beautiful and these trees, oh, that’s what I love the most, Muhammad Ali Street is beautiful."
"But it’s the people. You’d be surprised how they help each other and how they know each other. They may not be deep, meaningful conversations, but they know what time you leave for work and who belongs in your house, and stuff like that."
"I think people are slowly moving in, and I haven't heard of a lot of people moving out."
Rental source: apartmentguide.com
3411 Rudd Ave. (Photo: Jeff Faughender/Louisville Courier Journal)
Where: 3411 Rudd Ave. #2
Size: Three bedrooms, one bath
Amenities: This single-family home includes kitchen appliances and central air as well as washer and dryer hookups. Water, sewage and trash is included in the price of the rent.
The Neighborhood: Portland, which is Louisville's most populated neighborhood, has both a rich history and strong collection of historic architecture. It's been dogged by a perception it's a high-crime area, but it's also been known, lately, for its its affordable real estate and its steadily increasing appeal to both artists, business owners and restaurateurs. Developer Gill Holland, who led the NuLu revitalization, has been making substantial investments in Portland in recent years.
From a Local — Mike Neagle, resident and owner of Argo Networks
"It’s not on the way to anything. There’s not destination shopping but what’s here is for the neighborhoods. What’s nice if you live here, every business you go into you know the owners and you know the neighbors."
"I lived in the south end for 20 years and maybe knew two neighbors, and within weeks of being in Portland it felt like I knew everybody."
Portland development: Couple injects love into Portland with community center, BBQ
"Most of Portland is families and kids and people that have lived here for generations and some of them literally centuries. This is home, and they’re proud of it."
"Portland throughout its 200 years has leaped and waned."
"You’ve still got the (crime) stigma. I had quotes on this really nice fence. The longer I was around I realized I don’t need any of that stuff. We’ve had very few issues."
Rental source: zillow.com
Lofts of Broadway (Photo: Jeff Faughender/Louisville Courier Journal)
Where: Lofts of Broadway at 419 Finzer St.
Size: About 630 square-feet, loft-style one bedroom, one bathroom
Price: Starting at $688
Amenities: These lofts feature oversized closets, washer and dryer hookup in unit and free gated parking. The units have 14-foot ceilings, exposed brick and natural wood floors.
The Neighborhood: Smoketown has a deep history, including ties to Muhammad Ali that are preserved in a boxing glove statue outside the recently revitalized Sheppard Square housing development. The neighborhood lacks easy access to grocery stores and places for people to gather, but welcomed a wellness clinic, and there's a new laundromat project in the works.
From a Local — ShawnNika Marie Queen, neighborhood advocate
"If you drive through Smoketown, make sure you learn about the rich history of it. There is the boxing glove sculpture for Muhammad Ali. There are events that go on like the Smoketown Getdown down that bring people together."
"There is redevelopment here from food assets, to artistry to improving health. It gives us hope that area is still striving for greatness, and we deserve the things that other communities have because Smoketown is worthy and we’re worthy of everything."
Rental source: forrent.com; no immediate availability.
Bradford Mills Lofts (Photo: Jeff Faughender/Louisville Courier Journal)
Where: Bradford Mills Lofts
Size: One bedroom, one bath, 725-square-feet
Price: $1,025 to $1,075
Amenities: This former textile mill turned luxury lofts recently opened, and the units come equipped with granite counter tops, a dishwasher and washer/dryer hook-ups. There's a fitness center, storage space and monitoring cameras onsite. The complex offers 6 to 15 month leases.
The Neighborhood: Once an active textile mill, Bradford Mills Lofts preserves the historic structure of the building while bringing in a modern living component. Germantown, as its name suggests, was settled by German immigrants in the 1800s. If loft living isn't for you, the neighborhood is home to shotgun and camelback houses. It's the kind of place where there's seemingly a dive bar and a Catholic church on every corner.
From a Local — Danny McMahon, resident for four decades, local historian
"The last five years it's like the place to live," he said. "It’s a place where you can play and live and raise your children. There’s a lot of young families. It’s a good location where you’re 15 minutes away from anything"
"It’s always had a lot of pride in the neighborhood and a lot of good tradition."
"A kid lost a bike, and everybody pitched in and gave some money and helped him get a new bike. ... It really touched me. I just put it out there. I figured there might be a couple people. There were peopled driving up to donate 10 minutes after I posted it on Facebook."
"People help each other here. I’ve done a lot of research. Back in the day when the neighborhood was just starting, if there was a fire people were helping put out the fire and they'd get clothes and food for the people"
Rental source: apartmentfinder.com
We use Census data to see if the Louisville neighborhood fits the definition. Bailey Loosemore/Courier-Journal/USA TODAY Network
Downtown Louisville apartment tour