Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.
Luckett & Farley to invest more than $20 million in student housing on Broadway
“We’ve reached agreement on almost all the major issues, but we haven’t closed yet,” said Ty Handy, president of Jefferson Community and Technical College. The parties are waiting on the building appraisal and a few other logistics that go along with the closing process.
Once the deal is done, Luckett & Farley will become the majority owner and manager of 200 W. Broadway, and the firm will invest north of $20 million in renovations, much of which will involve building out apartment units on floors 5 through 9 of the building, said Tim Pitcher, president of Luckett & Farley Development. Floors 1 through 4, which are currently 128,209-square-feet of office space, remain just that but will receive some upgrades, and JCTC will continue to be a building tenant.
The apartments will be similarly priced to The Bellamy near the University of Louisville’s campus, Pitcher said. Those apartments range from $600 to $800.
Conversations between the JCTC Foundation and Luckett & Farley started back in January after the company responded to a request for proposals from the JCTC Foundation, which currently owns the building.
“The challenge is the Foundation bought the building back in 2005, and because it’s not a state building, the college hasn’t been able to invest any resources in it, and so a partnership like this is a perfect scenario to be able to redevelop the structure and use it in the way it deserves to be used,” Handy said. “This is a great opportunity for the Foundation to partner with an architecture firm that has a great interest in this community.”
According to state law, JCTC is not legally allowed to operate student housing, but Luckett & Farley can, he said. This would be the first student housing built with JCTC students specifically in mind.
The apartments will be open to college students from JCTC, Spalding University, UofL or another college, but it will most likely serve students in the Metropolitan College, a UPS-training program jointly run by JCTC and UofL. UPS recently introduced the UPS Kentucky Loop program, which pays for housing for students who attend JCTC and work part time at the company.
“The driving force behind that is a need for the UPS workforce,” Handy said. “This is their foray into casting a wider recruitment net, not just doing it in adjacent counties but statewide, and this space offers a lot of promise for that effort because it’s so proximate to our campus.”
Metropolitan College currently has 700 students enrolled in the program, and both the colleges and UPS would like to see that number double, given the growing need for more trained workers, Handy said.
This will not be the first time that Luckett & Farley has invested in the district known as SoBro, south of Broadway, where its own offices are located. The company last year purchased a historic and long-empty building at the corner of South Third and York streets. A gallery since has moved into a portion of the space.
Allergy-friendly food maker opening facility, bringing jobs to Jeffersonville
Chicago-based Enjoy Life Foods is opening a 200,000-square-foot factory at River Ridge Commerce Center.
The company says the state-of-the-art facility will be the largest allergy-friendly foods factory in North America, according to a news release, and is only the second production site for Enjoy Life Foods. Its first is in Schiller Park, Ill.
The factory will create 150 jobs in Jeffersonville and produce allergy-friendly breakfast bars, cookies, chocolate bars, baking mixes, chips and other snacks, the release said. Among other foods, the factory will churn out about 5.8 million cookies each month.
All the products are free of ingredients that include the following allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish, the release states. Roughly 100 million Americans suffer from with mild to severe food allergies, celiac disease and intolerances.
The grand opening is at 10 a.m. on Sept. 8.
Airbnb report lists Louisville among most visited destinations in the Midwest
Let’s ignore the fact that Airbnb has lumped Louisville in with the Midwest, among cities such as Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Cleveland and St. Louis, and focus on what a recent report from the short-term home rental website says.
Louisville had 32,400 “inbound guests” during fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016), a 125 percent increase compared with the prior fiscal year, according to data Airbnb compiled.
The number of inbound guests placed the city in third, behind Chicago and Minneapolis, when compared with 14 other major Midwestern cities. Chicago had 315,400 inbound guests, and Minneapolis had 33,400, Airbnb reported.
The company praised the benefits of short-term home rental, stating that the typical Airbnb guest spends five nights in a city and spends $200 more per trip than the typical hotel guest.
Louisville had about 1,200 Airbnb hosts who accommodated visitors last fiscal year, according to the report. The average host rented their home for 17 days during the year, and the typical household earned $4,100 in income for the year.
These statistics are made more interesting by the fact that a new city ordinance regulating short-term rentals just took effect on Aug. 1. Based on the 8.5 percent room tax rate that Louisville short-term rental hosts must now pay, the average host would have pay roughly $348.50 in taxes last year.
A representative with Airbnb told Insider Louisville that the company is working with the city to set up a system that would allow Airbnb to collect and remit taxes on behalf of Louisville hosts.
If you are one of the approximately 1,200 people who hosted guests through Airbnb last fiscal year and you haven’t registered for a permit with Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services, check out this IL story from this week that walks people through the permit application process. —Caitlin Bowling
Hammerheads undergoes much needed renovations
Anytime Hammerheads closes, there’s an uproar on social media from food fiends. It seems to be proof that a restaurant’s success is not all about location, even ones off the beaten path can thrive.
The Germantown dive restaurant may be creating a feeding frenzy after being closed for three weeks.
Co-owner Adam Burress told Insider Louisville that the 94-year-old house needed some upgrades.
“It just needed a little love,” Burress, who co-owns Hammerheads and the restaurant Game on Lexington Road with Chase Mucerino.
With construction-related noises in the background, Burress said they installed new drywall, repainted, leveled out the drooping ceiling, added new paneling and replaced the roof.
“It was done being a roof,” Burress said, adding that the structural integrity of the building remains.
Hammerheads closed Aug. 8 and was supposed to reopen on Aug. 15. That got pushed to Aug. 22, and now, the business hopes to reopen before next week. Burress said they’ve been working tirelessly to complete the renovations, but as they start work on one thing, they see another that they may as well complete while the restaurant is closed.
Keep an eye out on the restaurant’s Facebook page for updates. —Caitlin Bowling
No agreement reached in Al J. Schneider Co. case
The mediator in the fight between Al J. Schneider’s four daughters said the parties haven’t reached a solution that would end the litigation.
The judge in the case, Judge Mary Shaw, said for now, the case will continue with the lawyers moving forward with discovery to find information to bolster their arguments. Shaw could require further mediation in the future.
IL reached out to the various parties’ lawyers for comment but did not immediately hear back.
The fight — which has pitted Mary Moseley and Dawn Hitron against Christie Coe and Nancy O’Hearn — started back in March when the latter two sister sued to stop the sale of the Galt House Hotel, One Waterfront Plaza downtown and other assets owned by the Al J. Schneider Co. In legal documents, the lawyer for Coe and O’Hearn stated that the family was not informed of plans to sell One Waterfront Plaza until they read about it in Insider Louisville.
The four sisters are all beneficiaries of the late businessman Al J. Schneider, who built a multimillion-dollar real estate empire in Louisville. Schneider tapped Moseley to lead the Al J. Schneider Co., which she did until her unexpected departure last month. The company’s former chief operating officer Scott T. Shoenberger now heads Al J. Schneider Co. —Caitlin Bowling
Papalinos no more: Middletown store closes for good
The last Papalinos in Middletown abruptly closed last week after “more than six combined years.” Papalinos, which once had locations at Baxter Avenue and by the University of Louisville, posted on Facebook that it was heartbreaking to have to lay off staff that had become like “family.”
Papalinos on Baxter Avenue closed in 2014 with a promise to reopen in the Highlands neighborhood soon. That never happened and their storefront remains empty to this day.
That location’s shuttering was also abrupt. “The decision was a pretty quick one due to circumstances out of our control,” Papalinos spokesman Luke Blackburn said at the time, “so we are just now figuring out next moves.”
Often considered the best pizza in town — at the very least, the most authentically New York — Papalinos was created by chef Allan Rosenberg. He has gone on to create Citizen 7 in Norton Commons and Fontleroy’s. —Melissa Chipman
New Yoga studio in NuLu
Thrive Studio, formerly Louisville Bowstring, has opened up in the back of the former Local Speed building in NuLu.
According to Desi Springer, one of the creators of Bowspring from Colorado, “The Bowspring is a postural template that can be applied to any yoga pose, athletic movement or any functional posture for optimal performance.”
The studio, owned by Emily Karl and Sarah Shaheen, had a soft opening during August’s Market Street Trolley Hop. It offers two to five classes, with six teachers.
Costs vary, but a package of five classes start at $30; drop-ins start at $16.
The studio also offers a work exchange program called the Good Vibe Tribe. Students who are willing to work around the studio — cleaning mats, sweeping and mopping the floors, working the front desk — can take classes free. If you don’t have that kind of time, but are struggling with some financial hardship, there are a limited number of Keep Your Chin Up Scholarships, which allow people to buy tickets at a reduced rate.
Bourbon Mixer raises $36,000 for homeless veterans
The third annual Bourbon Mixer, which was held Aug. 13, was a success for the nonprofit selected to receive its charitable donations, Coalition for the Homeless. The event raised $36,000 for the nonprofit’s Rx: Housing Veterans program, which will help at least 36 homeless veterans transition from the street to having a home of their own, according to a press release.
Bourbon Mixer is a partnership shindig between the Whisky Chicks and Bourbon Brotherhood that offers guests tastings from more than 13 distillers as well as food and a silent auction. More than 260 tickets were sold.
According to the Coalition for the Homeless, the money raised will be used to help pay deposits and buy furniture and household goods for veterans’ new homes. After housing 838 homeless veterans last year through a program, Louisville providers are still continuing to house approximately 25 newly homeless veterans each month.
“There is no other place in the world where you could attend an event like this to learn and experience so much about Kentucky’s bourbon industry and help our community end homelessness,” said Dr. Vaughn Payne, who attended the event. —Sara Havens
Startup team to fly or fail in the Flugtag
On Saturday, when hundreds of crazy people flock to the Waterfront to watch people launch themselves via homemade flying devices into the Ohio River, some of Louisville’s most prominent risk-takers will be among them.
A group of startup entrepreneurs applied to be in the Red Bull Flugtag competition with a hastily drawn sketch of their plans. They didn’t get in. But when Team Zizzou dropped out of the race at the last moment — a week before the contest — these ambitious entrepreneurs swooped in to substitute.
The new Team Zizzou (they can’t change the name) includes:
- ContentTools — Eric Littleton
- MobileServe — Chris Head and Jacy Cruz
- Revio — Jason Harrington and Chris Bailey
- Inscope Medical Devices — Adam Casson
- El Toro — Stacey Griggs
- Cuddle Clones — Adam Greene
- Startup Weekend — Zack Pennington and Daniel Johnsen
They’ve been trying to build a Derby-themed flying machine all week. They originally wanted it to be entrepreneurship-themed, of course.
In an email, Cruz told IL: “We started designing on Saturday and quickly realized we’d have to abandon the entrepreneurship theme (difficult to communicate in only 30 seconds, not necessarily accessible to the crowd, etc), and that we’d have to minimize our flight expectations, but it’s been hilarious and fun and very much like our everyday lives — not having enough time, taking on the seemingly impossible, having naive optimism, etc. Plus, we’re going to try really hard to win the social media/voting part of the competition. Again, optimism.”
Wish them bon voyage at the the Red Bull Flugtag on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Waterfront Park. Admission is free, and gates open at 11 a.m. The first launch is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Food and drink vendors will be on hand as well. — Melissa Chipman
Reuters: PharMerica considering selling itself
Louisville-based pharmacy services provider PharMerica Corp. is considering a sale, according to a Reuters report that is based on unnamed sources.
Reuters said that PharMerica “is exploring strategic alternatives including a potential sale.” The agency cited “people familiar with the matter.” The company is said to be working with Bank of America Corp. and UBS Group AG on a possible sale.
The company could not be reached to comment on the report.
Shares jumped nearly 14 percent on Wednesday, but fell 3.52 percent on Thursday, closing at $24.67. The S&P 500 changed little on both days.
PharMerica, which employs about 6,000, provides services including consulting and on-site medication cabinets, primarily to long-term care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals. Headquartered about a 20-minute drive east of downtown Louisville, the company operates nearly 120 pharmacies and last year dispensed 34 million prescriptions reported revenue of about $2 billion.
CEO Greg Weishar had said in late May that demographic trends, including a projected rise in the number of older Americans and cancer patients, would present great opportunities for the company.
PharMerica was formed in 2007 by Louisville-based health care service company Kindred and Chesterbrook, Pa.-based AmerisourceBergen. The company has repeatedly been a takeover target, including of a hostile takeover by Omnicare in 2012. —Boris Ladwig