Welcome to the Feb. 12 Monday Business Briefing, your business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
This post has been updated.
Ford ups Navigator, Expedition production target, invests another $25M at KTP
Kentucky Truck Plant employees are working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts because of greater-than-expected demand for Louisville-made Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, Ford Motor Co. said.
The automaker said it would invest another $25 million in the plant — on top of the previously announced $900 million — and had raised its 2018 production target for both vehicles by 25 percent. For competitive reasons, the company said it would not share what those targets are.
The plant, which employs 8,400 and primarily builds the F-Series Super Duty, began producing the all-new Navigator in the fall. The models are made exclusively in Louisville. The workers are represented by the United Auto Workers union. Wages of new hires start at $15.78 but rise to $22.50 within four years.
The Expedition is one of the company’s larger, more expensive SUVs, an eight-seater that starts at about $47,000.
The Navigator, the Expedition’s luxury cousin, is a niche model, of which the automaker sells less than 1,000 per month. Last month, it was named North American Truck of the Year.
Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations for Ford, told reporters Friday that the consumers are digging deep into their pockets to buy higher-end versions of the Navigator, the Lincoln’s brand’s flagship.
The vehicle starts at about $72,000. A loaded Black Label edition, with a 20-speaker audio system, Venetian leather seats and a rear seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, can cost more than $100,000.
Hinrichs said that the Navigator’s average transaction price in January was up $2,700 from a year earlier — compared to an industry average increase of $100.
More details emerge about proposed hotel on Muhammad Ali Boulevard
Insider first reported in November that a hotel was proposed at the corner of First Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, but few details were available at the time. Now that the project is moving through the city approvals process, additional details and renderings have become public record.
According to documents filed with Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services, the former office building will become a 44,956-square-foot Holiday Inn with 94 rooms. The project also calls for the addition of a fifth floor and a first-floor restaurant and bar on the corner. The total estimated cost of the project was not provided.
Two existing surface lots next to the building will remain and serve as parking for hotel guests, the plans state.
Small Missouri bar chain coming to Main Street
The tenants at Main & Clay apartments will have their own watering hole close to home (and several others within easy walking distance).
International Tap House co-owner Sean Conroy confirmed to Insider Louisville that it plans to fill out a 2,400-square-foot space on the first floor of the Main & Clay apartment complex, located at 637 E. Main St.
“Main Street’s the place to be, and we really loved the vibe, the NuLu-Butchertown vibe, in that area,” said Conroy, who first got the idea to open a Louisville location when visiting for his son’s hockey league.
Conroy brought the idea to his business partner Brad Lobdell and then started looking for a location. In the Main & Clay space, Conroy said they will have about 120 seats, including some sidewalk seating, which will be connect to the main bar area by garage doors. International Tap House expects to hire 15 employees, including a local general manager.
Given that most Louisvillians have likely never been to one of International Tap House’s five Missouri locations, Conroy described it this way: “We are a bar first and foremost. We are really good at serving beer and bourbon and whiskey.”
International Tap House will have about 50 rotating beers on tap, as well as 200 to 300 bottled beers, and a healthy selection of bourbon and whiskey.
“You cannot ignore that in Louisville,” he said.
The bar won’t have a kitchen, but it does plan to partner with food trucks and customers are allowed to bring in food from anywhere. “We have people bring in everything from fast food to their own sandwiches and snacks from home,” Conroy said.
International Tap House will also have lots of televisions, though Conroy noted it’s not a sports bar.
Conroy declined to say how much the company will invest in the new location and did not have a specific window for when it will open, though they are shooting for sometime this summer. —Caitlin Bowling
Raw and organic food bakery opening on Bardstown Road
A new bakery is coming to the Bonnycastle neighborhood, according to signs posted on the door of 1759 Bardstown Road.
Until right before Christmas, the storefront was home to Flour de Lis Bakery. Its owner Jessica Roberts Ridley moved to Baltimore with her husband at the start of this year and therefore was forced to close the bakery after two years at that address.
However, a new kind of bakery is planning to move in “soon.” According to sign, it is the Rawnaissance raw and organic bakery.
On its website, Rawnaissance says it makes chocolates, truffles and cakes use only raw, organic, kosher and vegan ingredients. Its products also are free of gluten, sugar, soy, corn, grain and artificial flavors.
“I would love to see everybody enjoying my guilt free treats and promote Mother nature’s wide variety of colorful, flavorful, nutrient-rich and delicious treasures,” owner Barbora Shneydman states on her website. “I know this is my opportunity to shine thru and share my light with others. I’m ready to make world a better place, one sweet tooth at the time.”
The bakery currently operates in Jeffersontown on Plantside Drive.
Insider reached out to the owner multiple times but never heard back. The company hasn’t posted anything to its website or social media accounts about the new bakery, so keep an eye out for it to open. —Caitlin Bowling
Heat map shows how real estate prices in Louisville ZIP codes have changed
A map created by Garretts Realty Group identifies the areas where home sale prices jumped the most from 2016 to 2017. The map used data collected by the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors.
Within Jefferson County, the 40203 ZIP code saw the most dramatic rise in prices from 2016 to 2017. The average home price jumped from $72,750 to $103,825, a 42.7 percent difference.
The ZIP code includes SoBro, Limerick, Russell, Smoketown, Shelby Park, and parts of Old Louisville and Portland.
The ZIP codes (for which data is available) that saw the least change in home sale prices were 40208, which includes part of South Louisville and the lower half of Old Louisville near the university, and 40299, which includes Jeffersontown and a large swath of southeast Louisville. In both ZIP codes, the average home sale price only increased by $500.
Only one ZIP code in Louisville reported a decline in the average home sale price, according to Garretts Realty Group’s heat map. That was 40023, or the Fischerville area, near the Jefferson and Shelby county line. The average home sale price dove more than $29,000, to $310,321, a 8.7 percent difference. —Caitlin Bowling
Wick’s Pizza opening Hikes Point location
Wick’s Pizza is opening a new store in McMahan Plaza at 3348 Hikes Lane, Suite 103, according to an advertisement for a new liquor license.
Wick’s opened its first pizzeria in Plainview Shopping Center in 1991 before relocating it to its current Bardstown Road spot in 1993. Today, it has four locations, including one on Goose Creek Road, one in Middletown and another in New Albany.
The new location will replace the one on Goose Creek Road since the lease on that space is ending. The new Wick’s will be 5,000 square feet, seat 175 between the main dining room, bar and outdoor patio, and likely will open in June. It will employ 30 to 50 people, though it’s unclear how many may transfer from the Goose Creek Road site. —Caitlin Bowling