Avalon

(Editor’s note: Terry Boyd and Steve Coomes contributed to this post.)

This is a story that just keeps on giving.

The in-box was full this morning with emails from people who had more and better scoop on Avalon. Some of which turned out to be accurate.

Yesterday, we told you some of the investors in the hot Silver Dollar high-end honky tonk had snatched up the Avalon property at 1314 Bardstown Road – the center of the Highlands retail corridor.

Those investors, including former 732 Social co-owner Larry Rice, confirmed a deal, but apparently decided they didn’t want to go public with the details.

Well, lots of people have lots of information about this deal. And it’s easy to understand why: The .33-acre site apparently is going for a significant premium.

Multiple sources confirmed the property was on the market for about $2 million.

Not too bad considering Louisville-Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator website indicates the tax assessment – based on the most recent purchase price – is $625,000.

Now, we don’t know for certain that is the final sale price. And former owner Steve Clements told Business First back in 2009 that he was investing big money to redo the interior after opening Avalon in 2002. Also, Clements expanded the outdoor seating by buying the adjoining property to the west sometime after 2007.
But several sources told Insider Louisville they looked at the Avalon property and said, essentially, “Not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent.”

Michael Ton, one of four partners behind Doc Crow’s and La Coop, was one of them.

“No,” Ton said, when asked about rumors his group had snagged he property. He and brother Steven Ton also own Basa Modern Vietnamese. “We took a look at it, but it was far too expensive. They wanted $1.9 million for it, which is too much for us … You’ll have to spend $700,000 refurbishing it.

“It’s no turnkey operation.”

Another source told IL he looked at the property, but estimated it would take another $500,000 to create a restaurant capable of competing with the better operations along Bardstown Road and NuLu/East Market Street.

For an idea of how significant a chunk of change that is … you could build two brand-new pizza delivery stores for $700,000.

Plus, in 2012, no bank worth its balance sheet will even loan that kind of money for a restaurant project unless the proprietor has between 25 percent and 50 percent of the cash in hand to get the job done. Gone are the days of “10 percent down” commercial lending.

A third source’s reply said it best. He couldn’t make the numbers work, “but I thought about it. I really thought about it.

“No question that’s the best (location) in the Highlands.”

Clements closed Avalon suddenly on July 1 after Kentucky Derby Museum executives forced him out as the museum’s caterer, then sued him for fraud.