Welcome to the Aug. 6 Monday Business Briefing, your weekly business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Kentucky International Convention Center reopens Monday

Nearly two years after closing its doors for a $207 million renovation, the Kentucky International Convention Center reopens Monday, Aug. 6.

Kentucky Venues, which manages the convention center, has been keeping the renovations mostly under wraps, not allowing people to see the finished product until its grand reopening ceremony this morning. The first event — University Bible Study — will be held in KICC Aug. 8-15.

As of Friday afternoon, construction workers were still putting finishing touches on the convention center, which now has 200,125 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, a 40,000-square-foot open ballroom with LED-colored walls, 52 meeting rooms, a 175-seat tiered theater and a kitchen with the capacity to serve 15,000 meals a day.

KICC now is able to accommodate events with anywhere from 75 to 4,000 people at one time, according the convention center’s newly redesigned website that launched last week.

It also features its own coffee shop and bourbon bar called Oak & Brew, allowing people buy coffee, grab-and-go food items or an adult beverage depending on the time of day. The food and beverage management company Levy Restaurants is working with local businesses Gravely Brewing Co., Mayan Cafe and Red Hot Roasters to offer food and drink options at the convention center in addition to Levy’s own offerings and catering business.

As part of the relaunch, Kentucky Venues has partnered with Louisville Water Co. to install 20 banks of branded water fountains with bottle filling stations.

“The partnerships we establish, where our brand can get exposure to audiences in public places, serve us well. Plus, they are helpful for the host locations and benefit consumers by making quality water available at no cost,” Kelley Dearing Smith, vice president of communications and marketing for Louisville Water, said in a news release.

Plans are in the works to offer Louisville Water-branded reusable bottles to convention groups for their attendees. The move and the partnership are part of sustainability efforts at KICC, the release states, noting that Levy restaurants also is taking part.

“We’re composting everything in the kitchen and using disposables that are compostable,” said Elizabeth Lessner, general manager of Levy Restaurants at KICC, said in the release. “The water piece fits very nicely.”

Tourism and Louisville Metro officials have previously stated that the upgraded convention center will allow the city to attract 25 percent more convention business and trade shows. —Caitlin Bowling

Humana CEO on partnerships with Walgreens and Walmart

Bruce Broussard

Humana CEO Bruce Broussard said that his company expects to soon gain customers through its recently announced pilot program with Walgreens to establish senior-focused neighborhood clinics in Kansas City, Mo.

However, whether the approach will improve patient outcomes will take much longer to determine, he said.

“It’s going to be a few years to see the ultimate outcome of that,” Broussard told investors in a second-quarter earnings call Thursday.

The clinics, which the companies said they might open in other markets, represent an additional effort by the Louisville-based insurer to divert patients from hospitals, where costs usually exceed those in clinics, and to gain better control over escalating costs related to chronic conditions.

While the clinics will help patients with acute and immediate health problems, Humana said that its representatives in the drugstores also will provide customers with information about diabetes and about where to find support groups and senior fitness classes.

Broussard also said Thursday that Humana’s cooperation with Walgreens will not preclude the insurer from deepening its relationship with Walmart. The retail giant for months has been rumored to be considering acquiring Humana.

Walmart and Humana serve similar customer segments, Broussard said, while Walgreens has a different clientele that it serves in fewer, smaller stores.

Humana views its partnership with Walgreens as complementary, rather than competitive, to its cooperation with Walmart, he said.

Partnerships with both companies will allow Humana to “test and learn” how to best gain more customers and have the greatest impact on their long-term health, Broussard said. —Boris Ladwig

Hollenbach-Oakley, Horizon Commercial Realty building new headquarters

An aerial view of Blankenbaker Station Business Park | Courtesy of Hollenbach-Oakley

The real estate development company Hollenbach-Oakley and the real estate and property management firm Horizon Commercial Realty jointly announced plans to construct a headquarters building in Blankenbaker Station Business Park.

The building, at 1801 Tucker Station Road, will be 45,000 square feet. John P. Hollenbach, principal at Hollenbach-Oakley, said in an email that the two companies would lease about 30,000 of those square feet. He also said that the final cost estimates on the project were still to be determined.

“The new building will accommodate for the growth of both firms,” Hollenbach said in a release. “We intend to showcase who we are from a cultural and corporate perspective while creating a strong working environment.”

The headquarters is expected to open by fall 2019. The offices join a number of other businesses in the Blankenbaker Station Business Park, including Main Event, Xscape Theaters, FedEx Corp. and ORI Office Resources.

The business park is a development by Hollenbach-Oakley. —Caitlin Bowling

F-series, Navigator sales remain strong

2018 Lincoln Navigator. | Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. said its July sales in the U.S. fell 3.1 percent compared to a year earlier, but demand for the F-series pickup increased 2.1 percent.

The F-series, which includes the Louisville-made Super Duty, sold for an average $46,500 in July, up $1,500 from a year ago, and $2,600 above the segment average, Ford said in a news release.

Demand for the Louisville-made Lincoln Navigator jumped 64.7 percent compared to a year earlier, though at 1,191 units sold, the vehicle remains a niche product. Ford routinely sells more than 70,000 F-series trucks per month.

However, the Navigator’s average transaction price this July was $84,300, a whopping $29,900 higher compared to a year ago.

July sales for the Louisville-made Escape fell 25.6 percent, to 20,630.

Ford said that sales for cars fell 27.7 percent in July, while demand for SUVs declined by 1.5 percent. Truck sales improved 10.2 percent. Overall, the company sold 186,128 vehicles last month.

FiatChrysler said it sold 170,970 vehicles in the U.S. in July, up 6 percent from July of 2017. Boris Ladwig

Tour of Remodeled Homes is this weekend

The annual Tour of Remodeled Homes returns to Louisville this week, fulfilling people’s need to get a peek at how others live.

The event runs from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 11 and 12. It includes 15 houses and costs $10 per person. Those 6 and younger are free with an adult.

The houses included in this year’s Tour of Remodeled Homes had everything from kitchen and bath makeovers to a whole house remodel. Those features are located in Anchorage, Prospect, the Highlands, Butchertown, St. Matthews and other Louisville neighborhoods.

A map with all the participating homes is available online.

The event is hosted by Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville and sponsored by Home Supply and Bonnycastle Appliance and TV. —Caitlin Bowling

In Brief

On Monday, Aug. 6, Kentucky Venues will start hiring temporary state fair employees to work the admission gates and for jobs in operations/maintenance, grounds, housekeeping and other areas. More than 750 positions are available to those 18 years and older, and pay starts at $9 an hour.

Steve Zagar is now the chief financial officer of financial services cooperative Farm Credit Mid-America, which serves farmers and rural residents in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Zagar was previously the company’s vice president of accounting operations.

Papa John’s International will release its second-quarter earnings this week and host a conference call with analysts on Aug. 7. it will be the first call since the turmoil erupted surrounding founder John Schnatter.

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