Kentucky home inventory down, but sales up slightly

The number of homes for sale in Kentucky is dropping, but sales continue to rise slowly, according to a Kentucky REALTORS report on home sales.

While the number of homes on the market is at a near-record low, April 2019 saw 31 more homes sell than April 2018 (4,581 versus 4,552), a half percent of growth. Through April 2019, nearly 15,000 homes had sold in the state.

Pending home sales declined nationally, according to the National Association of Realtors, and only one region, the Midwest, experienced sales growth. April contract signings nationally were down 1.5 percent, marking 16 consecutive months of the annual decreases.

Median home prices in Kentucky rose slightly – just a fraction of a percent – to an all-time high of $136,053, marking four straight months of year-over-year gains.

“Kentucky needs to experience an increase in new construction,” Rip Phillips, president of Kentucky REALTORS, said in a news release.

“What can fuel this?” Phillips added. “We need the Commonwealth to continue putting in pro-business policies that help increase wages. We also need more affordable housing with programs such as first-time homebuyer tax credits being used in other states to meet the demand.” —Kevin Gibson

Local interior design website Stucco adds online store, virtual staging

Two photos that show first an empty room and then the same room to which designers have added virtual decor and furniture.
Local website Stuccco now allows sellers to send in photos of rooms, which professional interior designers then fill with virtual furniture and decor to better show off a room’s potential. | Screenshot courtesy of Stuccco.

A local website that provides homeowners with professional interior design help has added an online store with unique local items and a virtual staging service that allows buyers to show off a room’s potential.

Through Stuccco, people can get professional advice from 27 designers across the country on anything from individual furniture pieces for a certain spot in their home to complete designs for multiple rooms.

This week, the site added the Stuccco Store. Founder Matt Langan told Insider via email that the store allows customers to “find and purchase physical items sold by independent artists and retailers of home goods.” On Tuesday morning, the store included oil paintings from Leigh Montgomery Crady Fine Art, a vintage metal candelabra from Meghan Glasper Design and a hand-made bourbon barrel chandelier by Tall Cotton Trading Co.

The site this week also introduced virtual staging, which allows real estate agents and homeowners to upload photos of a room into which designers than virtually place furniture and decor. The service costs $29 per photo and takes no more than 48 hours. —Boris Ladwig

Convention Center names new general manager

The Kentucky International Convention Center has new leadership. Blake Henry, previously the general manager of the Cross Insurance Center Arena and Convention Center Complex in Bangor, Maine, will now be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the center.

Henry has more than 20 years of experience managing convention and entertainment facilities, having begun his career at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. He also spent 11 years managing New York’s PlayStation Theater and has extensive knowledge in developing operational policies, rate structures and marketing opportunities, according to KICC.

“As we continue building on the success of KICC’s reopening, Blake’s experience and proven track record will be an asset to Kentucky Venues,” said David S. Beck, president and CEO of Kentucky Venues. “He’s served in numerous roles at different facilities and thus, knows the ins-and-outs of running a successful convention center.”

The convention center reopened last summer following a two-year, $207 million renovation and expansion. It has more than 200,000 square feet Class A exhibit space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, 52 meeting rooms and a 175-seat tiered conference theater. —Kevin Gibson

State-funded angel investment program returns $14.8M to state

A screenshot of the home page of the Kentucky Science & Technology Corp.

The Kentucky Science and Technology Corp., which has invested $27 million in state funds in promising startups, has returned $14.8 million to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

KSTC was created in 2000 as part of the Kentucky Innovation Act and has invested $27 million in 135 startups in life science, health care and information technology sectors, including in Crestwood-based bio startup Apellis Pharmaceuticals.

The investments, which KSTC has made through the Kentucky Enterprise Fund, so far have generated a return of $20 million, of which $5.2 million have been invested into more Kentucky startups, while the remainder was given to the Kentucky State Treasurer in April, the nonprofit said in a news release.

KSTC said that it still holds equity stakes in more than 60 companies “and anticipates providing additional financial return to Kentucky taxpayers in the future.”

The nonprofit said that its investments have provided critical startup funding for Kentucky businesses, have helped create jobs and have “helped improve Kentucky’s technology and entrepreneurial ecosystems. That means more and smarter entrepreneurs and investors, who even if they don’t succeed with their initial companies learn lessons that promote future success.” —Boris Ladwig

The Kentucky Center
The Kentucky Center | Courtesy of the Kentucky Center

Warrior’s Heart Community recruiting

The Kentucky Center says it is recruiting participants for a program that helps to nurture veterans, using wisdom gleaned from traditional warrior cultures.

The Warrior’s Heart Community is a circle of veterans and non-veterans that meets for nine weeks, incorporating the arts, ritual and storytelling to help promote healing and create a sense of community, officials said.

Participants are needed for the next circle, which is scheduled to meet from June 19 through Aug. 14 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

The program gives veterans a place to thrive and to share sometimes-traumatic stories while non-veterans listen in a non-judgmental way and provide a supportive, compassionate environment.

“We are a circle of veterans and civilians who are dedicated to assisting veterans to integrate back into the community — no matter how long ago they came ‘home’ — by becoming a community,” Arts in Healing Director Kristen Hughes said in an email.

To register or get more information, contact Hughes at (502) 566-5197.—Darla Carter

Logan Street Market launches website, names mascot

The Logan Street llama
Meet Louise. She’s the Logan Street llama. | Courtesy of Logan Street Market

Logan Street Market has a new website, as well as a newly named mascot with logo.

The community market, scheduled to open in July, held a naming contest, with the winning name being Louise the Logan Street Llama.

The announcement came with details of the new site featuring renderings and more vendor information. In addition, gift cards to the market can now be purchased online; they will be accepted by all market merchants, Logan Street Market said.

In addition, the site has applications for Farmer’s Plaza vendors, information about Wild Hops, the onsite brewery, an events calendar and more. —Kevin Gibson

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