Welcome to the April 13 Monday Business Briefing.

This is your private business intelligence briefing, with Insider Louisville staff and contributors vetting tips collected during the past few days, hours and minutes before we post.

First, some good news: It looks like a “vintage” downtown apartment tower might finally get a much-needed facelift, Louisville is getting yet another new pizza place, and the state of local advertising is strong. Plus, we have details on some seriously weird science in the spirits industry, along with some decidedly bad news for people who thought they were getting a great deal on a swimming pool — turns out they were wrong.

But first, a look at sacred grounds in the Highlands…

Calvary Lutheran Church in the Highlands is empty, could hit the market

Photo courtesy PVA
Photo courtesy PVA

Empty churches in the Highlands are commanding some good bread these days.

The former Edenside Christian Church building at Edenside and Bardstown Road went for $450,000 last summer, as Business First reported; it’s being converted into a co-working space. And the former Metropolitan Community Church at 1432 Highland Ave. came on the market at $424,900 last month.

The Calvary Lutheran Church could be next.

The congregation at 1838 Bardstown Road (corner of B-town and Roanoke) ceased operations there at the end of 2014. Some of the space had been rented by both Redeemer Presbyterian Church and St. Christopher Ecumenical Catholic Church, but they’ve both moved on. Calvary Lutheran itself is in the process of disbanding, and all other events that used to take place there, from worship services to AA meetings, have departed.

“The aging congregation with few members were unable to sustain the building,” says Troy Burden, executive director of Highlands Community Ministries, of which Calvary Lutheran was a member.

Calvary was an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregation, and Burden tells IL there are others here, including First Lutheran on Broadway and Third Lutheran on Frankfort Avenue.

The stone building is owned by the ELCA, and members of the Deer Park Neighborhood Association tell us that organization will determine its fate. We couldn’t reach anyone there to discuss next moves.

Details of proposed 800 Building renovation unveiled

The 800 Building | Google Maps
The 800 Building | Google Maps

The future of the iconic (albeit outdated) 800 Building has been uncertain in recent years, with the ’60s-era apartment tower on, then off, then back on the market. But things are looking up: Not only is the building at Fourth and York streets under contract, the owners-to-be are proposing major upgrades at the aging turquoise tower, which has struggled with issues ranging from a lack of hot water to broken elevators.

Chicago-based developer Village Green hosted a community meeting last Wednesday to discuss their plans, which include converting the largest multi-bedroom apartments into one- and two-bedroom units. This would increase the number of apartments in the 29-story tower from 247 to 289.

The interior of each unit also would be renovated, including new kitchen cabinets and appliances, plus environmentally friendly updates, like new windows and LED lights. If tenants opt to remain in their homes during the remodel, the timeline is two weeks; if they are able to vacate, the work could be completed in a week to 10 days.

Village Green also promises improved security and a better-trained staff.

To top it all off — literally — the company plans to install a rooftop pool.

Brett Corbin, vice president of the Louisville Downtown Residents Association, attended last week’s meeting and had this to say: “From what the current residents said during the meeting about living conditions now in the 800 — and from what the Village Green folks are proposing to change — I think this is going to be a positive transition for the city. There’s obviously a lot of work to be done on the building and surrounding area, but the Village Green execs seemed excited by the challenge and willing to be compassionate to the concerns of current residents if they take over.”

If all goes as planned, Village Green intends to close on the property in the next 60 days.

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