New Development Hopes to Lure WKU Students

Construction on an upscale neighborhood and shopping district are expected to get underway in 2008.

The new development would turn an older neighborhood close to Western Kentucky University’s campus into what city leaders hope would be a draw to Bowling Green.

“What they are looking at is attracting some of the students to the retail. Whether it’s a coffee shop, all the retail establishments require them have outdoor seating,” Mayor Elaine Walker said.

It’s an idea ... a year in the making: A new development that would bring in young professionals, retired citizens and college students alike; an idea that has the city excited about the possibilities.

“What we are saying is we want to work with you because we think that this is a good project,” Mayor Walker said.

The area between 12th and 14th Avenues is occupied mostly by older rental homes. The new development, which would be called The Boulevards at Bowling Green, would include high-end shops, restaurants and loft style apartments.

The projects spear header, Chris Guthrie said Fairmount Properties, a company that specializes in university developing, is very interested in the project. Guthrie said even though a developer has been found, there are still challenges ahead.

“What hasn’t taken place yet is the land acquisition and that’s always a very difficult process,” said Guthrie.

He said the goals of this project are to attract more students to WKU and keep talented young professionals from moving away.

“I think the biggest challenge, how do we maintain that 20-something-year-old professional? How do we keep creative talent here in Bowling Green,” Guthrie said.

WBKO attempted to reach Fairmount Properties today, Monday, Jan. 29, 2007. As of this afternoon, our calls for comment have not been returned.

Although the project would benefit both Bowling Green and WKU neither are directly involved in the project. The developer will acquire the property and bear most of the risk in the project.