Recent discussions initiated by Mayor Greg Fischer on using the KFC Yum! Center to attract an NBA franchise — discussions not involving the University of Louisville — prompted Tom Jurich to say he would be happy to have the basketball program on a site occupied by the silos near campus.
Jurich was obviously playing a trump card, calling the Mayor’s bluff, but his first choice was always a campus facility. Whether he’s serious about the silos is another question, as much as some UofL fans would like to see them gone. Their location on I-65 partially obscures an impressive view of the campus from tens of thousands of motorists daily.
But the silos are probably going to be there for a long time. They are the local operations of Solae, a DuPont-owned company, a world leader in the production of soybean products with operations in seven countries. The company prides itself on high ethical values and environmental stewardship.
Solae has made solid good neighbor commitments to UofL, constructing attractive brick walls west of the silos on Floyd Street and, of course, with the highly-visible University of Louisville lettering and other art on the 11 silos by the interstate. When materials fade, they’re replaced by fresh ones.
Solae appears to be a thriving business. Right next door, across Byrne Street, the University is currently clearing land in the shadow of the silos for a new $18 million UofL soccer campus which Jurich promises will be the best college complex in the nation.
If the company ever leaves, UofL will be first in line for the 15 acres. Arena or not.