Welcome to the special Labor Day edition of Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
Developer buys final site for Grinstead Drive/Lexington Road development
Kevin Cogan has secured the last piece of property he needs to move forward with plans for a large apartment, hotel and retail development in the triangle bound by Grinstead Drive, Lexington Road and Etley Avenue.
In total, Cogan has spent $6.13 million on property acquisitions, which includes the purchase of a small building next to Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium, across the street from the triangle. With the recent acquisition, Cogan owns every parcel in the triangle except one — the property that NuYale Cleaners sits on at 2515 Grinstead Drive. But it won’t prevent the project from continuing as planned, he told Insider Louisville.
Most recently, JDG Triangle Partners II LLC, a subsidiary of Cogan’s Jefferson Development Group, purchased 2338 Lexington Road for $1.5 million on Aug. 24, according to Jefferson County property records. A Speedy Mart gas station operates on the property.
The lot will be leased back to Speedy Mart and former property owner Rajeshkumar Patel “until we decide what to do with it,” Cogan said, adding that a gas station is not in his plans for the development.
“It just doesn’t fit with the concept,” he said.
Cogan later mentioned the property could be transformed into a beer garden to complement restaurateur Kevin Grangier’s Le Moo, an upscale steakhouse opening on Sept. 19. He also noted that he’s already talking to Grangier about a second restaurant in the triangle.
Design plans for the Grinstead and Lexington development likely won’t be submitted to the city’s planning and design department until 2016 and are still fluid. Right now, though, it includes two large apartment towers — one going as high as 20 stories — a hotel, and a restaurant and retail complex.
“You are creating a little small community that is almost self-contained,” Cogan said.
In the meantime, Jefferson Development Group consultants have been meeting with city economic development officials to negotiate potential tax credits such as a tax increment financing district, Cogan said, or creating some other forms of public-private partnership.
Cogan also said he is focused on beautifying the triangle, which, with some exception, is a collection of rundown buildings.
For example, workers this week will paint the outside of the former Brakeway building at 2296 Lexington Road in a purple and grey zig-zag pattern. The building will be renovated for minimal cost, Cogan said, to ready it for a new business. What exactly, Cogan isn’t 100 percent sure yet.
However, he did tease the fact that two new “tremendous tenants” are headed to the triangle in the coming months, but he declined to disclose further details.
His goal, Cogan said, is to have businesses operating on the property for the next couple years as the project moves through planning, city approvals and other steps. It will keep money coming in and prevent the properties from sitting empty during the long development process.
“Eventually, all of the tenants will be part of what we are developing,” he said, noting that some businesses may in the future have to close for a period of time, move or operate out of temporary facilities to accommodate construction.
Unlike his nearby Willow Grande project, which drew criticism from neighbors, Cogan doesn’t expect the Grinstead development to spark controversy in the neighborhood. The triangle is surrounded by Cherokee Park, Cave Hill Cemetery, a couple of businesses and the Metropolitan Sewer District, which bought the Jim Porter’s property earlier this year.
Cogan put his hat in the ring to buy Jim Porter’s but was unsuccessful. However, MSD intends to sell all or most of the property once it completes construction of a storage basin near the site. “We hope to buy it (then),” Cogan said. —Caitlin Bowling
Shiraz Mediterranean Grill to open downtown location
The usual search of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government records turned up a mouthwatering news tip: Shiraz Mediterranean Grill plans to open a location downtown.
And lucky for us at Insider Louisville, it will be just down the street from our soon-to-be new offices at Fifth and Market streets.
The Mediterranean restaurant will bring its hummus, falafels and kabobs to 237 S. Fifth St. in the Kentucky Home Life building. The space is 1,709 square feet and will cost an estimated $100,000 to outfit for Shiraz, according to a city building permit.
IL reached out to Shiraz for comment on the new site but didn’t hear back as of press time.
Shiraz currently has three other locations in Louisville, one on Poplar Level Road and the other two in the East End. Its oldest location, the one on Frankfort Avenue, closed in June. —Caitlin Bowling
Humana ending coverage for some area clients at end of 2015
Humana has alerted some area clients that their insurance will terminate at the end of 2015, and they will need to find new health care coverage. This news came via an Aug. 31 letter from Humana to these clients.
IL obtained a copy of Humana’s letter, addressed to a client in Georgetown, Ind. “Every year, insurance companies can make changes to the plans and coverage options they offer. Humana won’t offer the coverage you currently have in 2015 in your area in 2016. This means you must enroll in a new plan to have health insurance coverage. The last day of your current coverage is Dec. 31, 2015.”
The person who received the Humana letter also said she contacted Humana and was told the firm would no longer provide coverage for Indiana residents, although IL has not been able to confirm this.
The letter then explains that there are other options for getting health insurance coverage: Customers can visit healthcare.gov and look at other Marketplace plans, or use the same website to see if they qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The other option is to look at other plans outside the Marketplace.
Humana also warned clients: “To make sure there isn’t a gap in your coverage, enroll in the new plan by December 15, 2015,” the letter states. Humana provides a phone number, 1-877-299-4598, for those with questions, or you can visit humana.com/cancel.
IL reached out to Humana with numerous questions, including: Why is Humana terminating these policies? Which areas are losing coverage? Is everyone in Indiana going to soon lose coverage? How many people will be impacted? And will Humana employees who live in the affected areas also lose coverage.
Humana spokeswoman Kate Marx responded to the questions above, without saying explicitly whether all coverage in Indiana is going to be terminated or how many people could be impacted by these moves.
“Humana will be discontinuing select individual health plans for the 2016 plan year,” she wrote in an email to IL. “This is being done to retain the overall affordability and accessibility of the individual health plans we offer on-and off-exchange. We are reaching out directly to Humana members who will have to change their coverage to share other coverage options in the individual market for 2016.”
Super premium Yellowstone Limited Edition bourbon to be released at Kentucky Bourbon Fest
Could Yellowstone Limited Edition bourbon be the next Pappy? With only 6,000 bottles produced, we believe it’s going to be highly unlikely to come across one of these at the local liquor store.
The Kentucky straight bourbon officially will be available in markets in October, but it’s making its debut later this month at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown. So what’s so special about it? Well, the bourbon is a combination of seven-year rye, seven-year wheated and 12-year rye barrels, which is said to create an exceptional depth of flavor and complexity.
Created by the Limestone Branch Distillery, which was opened in 2011 by brothers Steve and Paul Beam, Yellowstone also marks a return of the bourbon back to their family. According to the press release, “Yellowstone Limited Edition, bottled at 105 proof, celebrates the 105th anniversary of Steve Beam’s great-grandfather, Minor Case Beam, selling his Old Trump Distillery to Joseph Bernard Dant, a pioneer distiller and relative from his mother’s side.”
In other words, this release unites both sides of his family — the Beams and the Dants. With a suggested price tag of $105, it should definitely be used only to commemorate occasions such as this. —Sara Havens
New news from NuLuFest
Want to be a vendor at NuLuFest? Sorry, the Sept. 26 event is all sold out with a waiting list of 10 vendors just hoping somebody will back out. This year, the event will have upwards of 180 vendors, that’s 48 more than last year’s NuLuFest — crafts, nonprofits, art, food, beverages … and Insider Louisville, of course.
Other new NuLuFest news includes the addition of Louisville Ballet as one of the performers. They’re still working on the time for that.
In addition, Rye has partnered with NuLuFest to add a second stage for music after 6 p.m. with its “Back Porch Sessions.” Highlights from the Back Porch lineup include 1200, Beacons and 21st Century Fox.
Also added to the kid’s section of the festival: The U.S. Tennis Association will be offering free tennis lessons for the kiddos.
Interapt drops new app for Kentucky Touchstone Energy Cooperatives
PowerMap is a new app built by Interapt for their client Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. This is an app for economic developers (but it sounds like it would be cool for just about anyone who is curious/nosy). It allows you to see more than 50 different data points and statistics about your mobile device’s location, a point on a map, or a street address that you enter.
According to Interapt’s Steve Fowler, here’s how it would work: “You walk out to a possible site for your new manufacturing plant. You pull up the PowerMap app on your phone and it pings your location to tell you geo-specific data such as: availability of skills in the area; detailed workforce data; available sites and buildings; quality of life attributes; along with narratives and facts about the community and region that helps to tell the story of the communities served by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.”
It took a while for us to drill down and figure out what this econ dev app had to do with an energy co-op, but it turns out, it’s simply an exercise in branding. KTEC had Interapt build this super-helpful app for econ dev professionals in order to get their name and their story in front of them. People who are in charge of site-selection for new businesses need to know that KTEC could totally be a source of energy in their area.
“It is pulling together 16 electric co-ops that serve 87 counties in a way to clearly show their territory in a usable fashion while providing 63,000 of the latest economic development data points that folks in the site selection business have to have to select the proper location for a facility,” said Brad Thomas, associate manager, Economic Development of East Kentucky Power Cooperative. —Melissa Chipman
Filson Historical Society names new president and CEO
Sometimes retirement isn’t for everybody. Not even a year after retiring as director of the Louisville Free Public Library, Craig Buthod has accepted the position of president and CEO of the Filson Historical Society. Buthod was chosen after a nation-wide search, and the man packs quite a résumé, having worked around the country as a librarian for more than 42 years. Buthod came to LFPL from the Seattle library system in 1998 and served as director until last November.
“As the Filson moves forward with its extensive transformation, including renovation of our current campus and the completion of our new Owsley Brown II History Center, we feel Craig has demonstrated the leadership, creativity, vision and commitment to preserving our region’s history …,” said Filson chairman Carl Thomas in a press release. “At our very core, the Filson is an extraordinary archive and rare book library and a center of historical and cultural education open to everyone. Craig’s skills, experience, intellect and deep knowledge of our community and region make him an ideal leader for the Filson.”
Buthod will begin working at the 131-year-old historical society later this month, and some of his immediate responsibilities will include expanding its collections, growing membership and completing the expansion project, which includes construction of a 20,000-square-foot center featuring modern digitization and exhibit space.
“The Filson’s commitment to collecting and preserving our history, and then sharing it with the world, is what makes it a cherished Louisville institution,” said Buthod in the release. “I am excited to join the Filson and eager to contribute to its future. I also plan to have a lot of fun along the way.”
Rivue Restaurant & Lounge unveils new wine and general manager
Just as we were signing off for the holiday weekend, the darnedest email popped into our inbox. Rivue Restaurant & Lounge, that spinning upscale dining spot on the 25th floor of the Galt House, invited us to a party to show off their new signature wine series as well as a new general manager. We liked how they positioned the wine announcement before the GM — kudos to knowing what really grabs people’s attention.
We’ll take their lead as well: The signature wine includes a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay that’ll be sold at the restaurant and at 3rd Floor Spirits inside the Galt House. The Cab is a California wine that touts to have a rich, robust finish with well-balanced tannins. And the Chard is also a California wine laced with a citrus-heavy flavor for those who shy away from the oaky, buttery style of white wine.
The new general manager is Thad Mattingly, who was actually the founding GM when the restaurant opened in 2007, and he has two decades of working in Louisville’s restaurant industry under his belt. Mattingly got his start working at Kunz’s and has also worked at Eddie Merlot’s.
The wine will be available at Rivue after Sept. 15. —Sara Havens