Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.

Quickly, here’s a reminder about our next Insiders Meetup on Tuesday, Feb. 17. For this installment, Ted Smith — executive director of the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil, and chief of civic innovation for Metro government — will talk “citizen science” and how to use big data to improve air quality and community health. We’re returning to our old meetup stomping ground at Vincenzo’s, 150 S. 5th St. Click here for more details and to RSVP.

Remember those stories about the Starks Building being sold? We’ve got a bigger picture for you this morning. Also, the Old Louisville commercial corridor is getting its swagger back with yet another retail pickup. There’s restaurant turnover in the Highlands and some new rooftop action coming downtown. Louisville-based Rooibee Red Tea’s kids’ line gets some national love. And Kindred fills a top spot from within.

With all that, we almost forgot to tell you we’ve got the IL stock roundup here, too.

But first, to NuLu…

Rye on Market owner eyes Green Building for new restaurant/bar

The-Green-BuildingEver since La Coop Bistro a Vins closed up shop in the Green Building at the end of 2014, IL staffers have spent a fair amount of time discussing what should go in there next, as our offices are just up the block. The editorial department was pretty evenly split: some wanted an affordable restaurant, others wanted an after-work watering hole.

If the team behind Rye on Market gets its way, it could be both.

We’d heard rumblings that Michael Trager-Kusman, owner of Rye, and his team had been spotted touring the La Coop space more than once in recent days.

We called to inquire, and it turns out Trager-Kusman has signed a letter of intent seeking not only to lease the 1,500-square-foot La Coop space, but the entire first floor of the Green Building, including the back patio.

“We singed a letter of intent, but we haven’t signed a lease yet,” Trager-Kusman says. “That’s as far as the process has moved along, but we’re definitely very interested in the space.”

When asked for details about his plans, Trager-Kusman reiterated that no lease has been signed. But assuming a lease can be negotiated, he anticipates this restaurant would operate at a lower price point than Rye on Market, in addition to being more bar-centric.

“There is no concept built yet, but I will say it would be heavily bar focussed,” he says. “We are trying to appeal to a larger audience but still offer the same level of service we do at Rye.”

Rye executive chef Tyler Morris would design the menu, the focus of which is still TBD.

If a lease agreement can be reached, Trager-Kusman hopes to be open for business at the Green Building by Derby.

Good times keep rolling for Old Louisville’s commercial corridor

Quality PawnIt’s already been one helluva year for the Old Louisville commercial corridor, with at least three new restaurants on the way and one just opened, the pending relocation of 300 city workers to the Edison Center, and a deal in the works for mixed-use at the abandoned Winn-Dixie near Fourth and Oak streets.

It’s about to get even better. Right across the street from the old W-D, in fact.

The building that used to house Quality Pawn, at 1145 S. Fourth St., is under contract, according to the Semonin Commercial broker who listed the property. It’s early yet for all the details, but we’re told the buyer plans to use at least part of the building as a woodworking shop. And we’re told to expect new retail up front.

The current owner, MFH & O LLC in Crestwood, accepted a cash offer; the 8,400-square-foot building was listed for $299,900. Not for nothing: The seller knocked $100K off the asking price on Feb. 1.

The PVA last assessed the property at $191,500 in 2009 — well before the tide started to turn along that stretch.



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