Welcome to the Jan. 28 Monday Business Briefing, your weekly business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
Large apartment complex coming to downtown Jeffersonville
Florida-based real estate investment firm Waypoint Residential plans to construct a 214-unit luxury apartment development, the company announced.
Called The Walcott Jeffersonville, the development will feature a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units and amenities, including a resort-style pool, a fitness center, an Internet café, an indoor-outdoor rooftop terrace and a pet spa. The current construction timeline has work wrapping up in mid-2020.
The complex will sit directly across from the Big 4 Station Park, putting it within easy walking distance to restaurants, storefronts and the amphitheater in downtown Jeffersonville, as well as Louisville via the pedestrian bridge. The project will take advantage of the site’s location within a federal opportunity zone, which will give the developer federal tax benefits.
“The Walcott Jeffersonville is our second investment in the greater Louisville MSA and our first in Jeffersonville,” Scott Lawlor, CEO of Waypoint Residential said in a news release. “The City of Jeffersonville’s revitalization strategy, in the broader context of a diverse and growing economy in the MSA, presented a compelling investment opportunity. It is a deal we had under contract before the opportunity zone designation, which is an added benefit.”
Waypoint Residential manages in the 312-unit Apex on Preston apartments in Louisville.
UofL officially begins strategic plan process
University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi has formally initiated the school’s strategic planning process.
In front of a crowd of officials and faculty on Thursday, Bendapudi again promised to make UofL a great place to work, learn and invest. During the next seven months, Bendapudi and multiple committees and work groups will develop the plan, ultimately aiming to implement it in August.
The plan is set to be the first of two three-year plans to improve UofL. The first will run from 2019 to 2022, then the second will go until 2025. Bendapudi said she likes three-year marks, instead of a more traditional 10-year approach, because “I can’t hide and neither can you.”
One workgroup will be assigned to focus on each key point of Bendapudi’s vision — work, learn, invest — bringing ideas to a steering committee in June. The steering committee will then present a plan to an executive committee later that month before sharing the full plan with UofL’s board of trustees.
Bendapudi hopes to build the plan on months of information-gathering, including student surveys and financial status updates.
Woodford Reserve releases more Double Double Oaked
It seems January/February is no time to slow down at Brown-Forman. Word hit our inbox that yet another fine whiskey release was coming from the Louisville-based spirits company in the form of the highly delectable Woodford Reserve Double Double Oaked, which is part of Woodford’s Distillery Series.
If you’re keeping track, this release joins Old Forester’s rye whiskey and Coopers’ Craft’s latest Barrel Reserve. And according to the inventory on our bar shelf, this Double Double marks the fourth time it’s been offered up.
So why does Woodford keep releasing it? Because it’s absolutely delicious, and bourbon aficionados and even those new to bourbon are willing to pay $50 for the 375 mL juice that is rich, sweet and delicious — like you’re sucking on a piece of caramel candy.
Double Double Oaked first came out in 2015 and is basically bourbon that was meant to be Double Oaked but was left in the second flavoring barrel (heavily toasted, lightly charred) for an extra year. That first release may have been an accident, but it flew off the shelves, and now Woodford is aging it extra on purpose.
“People love this product for its unique style and rich flavor profile, and we listened to their calls to bring it back for multiple encore appearances,” Master Distiller Chris Morris said in a news release.
We’d put Double Double in our top 5, which is why we sacrificed sleeping in last weekend to stand in line for a bottle at Liquor Barn. Turns out the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles now has a healthy supply, and you might also be able to find it at liquor stores around town. —Sara Havens
KFC pledges to eliminate non-reusable plastic, partners with Funko on figurine
Louisville-based chicken chain KFC has made the news several times in the past week — first for its latest Colonel Sanders collectible and then for a pledge to stop using non-recoverable or non-reusable plastic-based packaging by 2025.
The packaging includes container lids, plastic bags, straws and cutlery, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, and the company plans to work with suppliers and franchisees to identify alternatives to plastic products.
“As a global brand that operates more than 22,000 restaurants in over 135 countries, KFC is in a position to have a real impact on how the industry approaches waste and packaging management overall. With environmental sustainability as a core aspect of how we do business, this commitment represents a public acknowledgment of the obligation we have to address these serious issues.” Tony Lowings, KFC’s CEO, said in a statement.
In addition to policy change related to the environment, KFC is always looking for quirky new ways to promote the brand by get the Colonel’s face out there. There was the Colonel Sanders inflatable raft, the pillow with his face on it and now the Colonel Sanders figurine.
KFC partnered with pop culture collectibles company Funko, which has made bobbleheads and figurines of just about every famous movie and television character, to offer a two limited-edition Colonel Sanders.
They went on sale Wednesday on Funko’s website and Amazon. One features Sanders in his iconic white suit, while the other is Sanders with his signature cane.
“We know Funko Pop! fans are as obsessive about their collections as Colonel Sanders was about his famous fried chicken,” said Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer for KFC U.S., in a news release. “Now people can add the world’s greatest chicken salesman to their collections.”
Buffalo Trace Distillery breaks attendance record, also restores historic fermenter from 1883
Good news trickling out of the Buffalo Trace Distillery just as fast as its good bourbon. First up, the Frankfort distillery’s attendance records were broken yet again in 2018, with 231,523 visitors stopping by during the calendar year. This is up 15 percent from the previous year and — wait for it — up 345 percent since 2010.
“It’s exciting to be growing in all aspects,” Meredith Moody, director of Homeplace development at Buffalo Trace, said in a news release. “We are thrilled that so many people took their time to come and see our team at work.”
We’d venture to say Buffalo Trace is one of the top tours in the state because not only are tours free, but many come searching for the distillery’s most popular brands, like Blanton’s, W.L. Weller, E.H. Taylor and, oh right, Pappy.
Of course, the distillery, along with most others, is expanding. This includes adding more space to the visitor’s center and also constructing 22 new barrel warehouses on property adjacent to the distillery.
In other news, Buffalo Trace just restored and filled one of E.H. Taylor’s original fermenters discovered in 2016 as part of the Bourbon Pompeii project. The fermenter, which dates back to 1883, was lined with copper and filled with sour mash, as it would have been back in Taylor’s day.
Judge tosses UofL suit against former law firm
A judge tossed out part of the University of Louisville’s lawsuit, arguing the school and its foundation waited too long to sue its former law firm.
Stites & Harbison, the foundation’s former law firm, was one of the multiple co-defendants named in a joint suit between UofL and its foundation last April. The duo asserted the law firm enabled former school and foundation leaders to allegedly overspend the university endowment, among other claims.
Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman dismissed the claims against Stites in a ruling earlier this month, agreeing with the law firm that the suit was brought too late and the statute of limitations was up.
In December oral arguments, Stites’ lawyers argued UofL should have known about issues with potential overspending when local media, including Insider Louisville, reported problems as early as 2015. UofL and its foundation should have sued then, Stites argued.
Metro United Way is encouraging local individuals affected by the partial government shutdown to call its free, 24-hour hotline at 2-1-1 to find needed resources and services. The hotline can help in a variety of areas, including housing, utilities, food, physical and mental health services, finances, jobs and addiction.
Beginning in the fall 2019 semester, the University of Louisville is launching an online MBA program designed for working professionals to earn certificates in-demand by local industries.
Starting today, seats from the Old Cardinal Stadium, which is being demolished, go on sale for $50 each. They are available for purchase through Feb. 8 and come in red, yellow and green.