Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops before the weekend — a roundup of real estate, retail, financial and other business news that can’t wait for Monday.
Let’s start with Electrolux. The Swedes buying GE Appliances gave us a lot to talk about this week, and we run through it all below. We also check out Yum! Brands’ fairly epic response to some angry investors over palm oil, and we get the scoop about the newest Boombozz from Tony himself. A local manufacturing mainstay has a new boss, and IL whipping boy Porter Bancorp is finally emerging from the punishment.
But first, right here in our backyard …
New distillery headed for NuLu
Things are popping in NuLu, and we’re convinced we’re embarking on the second wave of major investment for the neighborhood. The $12 million streetscape improvement project is approaching the end stage of approvals. The Empire Theater Building on East Market is close to a rebirth. The Green Building will soon have a new restaurant.
And the rumors we’ve been hearing about a distillery coming to NuLu are true: The former Disney Tire building on Jefferson Street is under contract to a new distilling group and is set to feature what one source calls “a unique tourism experience.”
Details are light because the deal is in an early stage, but multiple insiders have confirmed to IL that the distillery would occupy the building at 721 E. Jefferson St., which is owned by a group that includes Gill and Augusta Holland, the actor William Mapother, Tim Peters and Lois Mateus. A rep for the group had no comment.
Our sources also tell us the distillery is from a new group in the market. What we haven’t been able to confirm yet is if they’ve got a name. An official announcement of the project is expected soon.
The 24,000-square-foot building, which was last assessed at just over $1.1 million in 2013, is a key part of the continuing East Market/NuLu revival. It faces Jefferson Street and the northeastern edge of Liberty Green. An 8,000-square-foot sliver is currently home to Mint Julep Tours.
IL’s Steve Kaufman tagged the building a top candidate for adaptive reuse in a piece last summer, reminding that before the Great Recession, the warehouse was going to be home to a Creation Gardens farmers market. A distillery there — with a tourism angle, no less — would bring a new commercial focus to what’s basically the backside of NuLu, expanding a neighborhood whose commercial rebirth has with a few exceptions been confined to East Market Street.
Tony BoomBozz’ new St. Matthews location will open in early May
On Tuesday, the BoomBozz Facebook page posted an image of the gutted space at 3939 Shelbyville Road, site of the former 60 West Bistro & Martini Bar, with the caption: “The new St. Matthews location getting close!”
BoomBozz proprietor Tony Palombino confirmed to Insider that the new location should be open by early May. He gave us a few details of the new space, too. There will be a patio area with garage doors that’ll seat 50 at the east end of the building and a new color scheme.
He also hinted at a “surprise” that’ll be revealed during the grand opening celebration (date to be announced), which will showcase the pizza place’s 16-year history in St. Matthews. He’d like all past and present employees to attend, as well as loyal customers.
And if you missed Thursday’s news, he also told us the current BoomBozz Pizza location on Frankfort Avenue will be converted to a Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant.