September 29, 2022

Alex Brey
Managing partner, Oxford Rhine Real Estate
Years in current job: Three
Years in the real estate industry: Seven
Outside investors are buying up more and more Louisville properties. Do you think that trend will continue? Why or why not?
Louisville has continued to position itself as an attractive and generally stable investment environment, especially for outside investors who may have experienced fewer financially viable opportunities in the larger core markets. While our firm anticipates this trend to continue, the transaction volume is likely to unevenly taper across each asset class over the next 12 to 24 months. Simultaneously, we are forecasting a potential uptick in local investor activity as the outside investor pool contracts along with asset pricing.
Predict the future: What Louisville neighborhood will see a lot of growth in the coming years?
While it should come as no surprise, the completed and future development projects in the Phoenix Hill, NuLu and Butchertown neighborhoods should continue the upward growth trends in these areas. The variety and commitment to mixed-use development is what sets these neighborhoods apart. Louisville has a limited amount of “unconstrained” land available for development or redevelopment, and mixed-use properties are needed to help achieve the city’s desired future economic and population growth.
What is a tech solution or gadget that you can’t live without?
There is a local tech startup that developed a real estate specific mobile app called Symba. The platform provides a clean and comprehensive CRM that tracks deal flow, projected net income as well as forecasts tax liabilities and deductions. It has been an essential tool in my business.
What has been your biggest surprise (good or bad) when showing a property?
A few years ago, a few colleagues and I toured the Launch Louisville co-working space located at 816 E. Broadway. There was a noticeably large drop ceiling throughout the main level. As we made our way to the second level of the building, we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by full vaudeville theater. The theater dates to the early 20th century, and the architectural features, combined with its size, were astounding. I understand the building was recently acquired by Anna Sorrell and Rachell Zink, co-founders behind Epping District, and they have plans to renovate the theater. It will be a fantastic addition to Louisville’s art and music scene once completed.
What’s one thing you’d like to see Louisville change to spur more new development?
A common theme we encounter from several of our developer clients, both local and nationally, is the challenges faced when developing or even considering a development project in Louisville. The requirements often placed on developers by certain city departments is typically unwarranted and superfluous. Often, this has led to unnecessary delays and increased costs. These burdens have repeatedly occurred in many predevelopment stages, leading to the demise of many projects before ever having the opportunity to begin. I do not believe the city can reach its full potential without creating a more cohesive and collaborative development process.
How do you think remote work will continue to shape the office market in Louisville?
I do believe we will continue to experience a gradual shift in the local office market. While it won’t be as noteworthy of a shift as those in more populous markets, the impact will be evident. Businesses will continue to deepen their evaluation of the financial, productivity and employee impact of remote work. I expect we will continue to see a hybrid model either continued or adopted by many companies, along with increased suburban office occupancy. Sadly, Louisville’s urban office market will continue its regression without perhaps the introduction of more aggressive business incentives for companies of all sizes, encouraging them to stay or relocate to our Central Business District.
Tell us about your favorite building/project in Louisville.
This is a difficult question to answer, so I will selfishly name a few. I love the Germantown Mill Lofts development. Having been a part of the development team and experiencing the transformation of an old cotton mill to what it is today was meaningful. I am also an enormous fan of all the urban bourbon distillery projects. Copper & Kings, Rabbit Hole, Angel’s Envy, Old Forester, Evan Williams and many others are reinforcing and solidifying our city’s identity. Each project is thoughtfully curated and provides a memorable experience for locals and visitors alike. That being said, the Louisville Palace is my favorite building in Louisville.
What’s something you hear of more tenants asking for when looking at potential properties?
If tenant build-out needs exist, then many of our commercial tenants are asking for more time between lease execution and rent commencement dates. This has primarily been due to supply chain issues impacting the construction and delivery process. Thankfully, most landlords have been understanding and amicable with the request.
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