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.
City wraps up public workshops on comprehensive plan
The city is expected to release a draft version of its new comprehensive plan before the end of the year.
Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services just completed a series of public workshops that focused on livability, environment, community facilities, housing, community form, mobility and marketplace.
As 2020 nears, Louisville is working to revamp Cornerstone 2020 to look forward to 2040.
“The Advisory Committee and staff will now be refining the goals, objectives and policies that were completed with work group input to finalize a draft Comprehensive Plan document,” according to Planning & Design Services spokesman Will Ford. The draft will then be reviewed by the Planning Commission at a public hearing before it is forwarded onto Louisville Metro Council for final approvals.
The new comprehensive plan also must be adopted by Louisville’s 12 suburban cities with zoning authority. The goal is for all of the government bodies to approve the new plan by the end of next year. —Caitlin Bowling
Volkswagen subsidiary looking to invest $2 billion in the United States
Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, will look at 10 to 15 locations in Indiana and Kentucky where it could install its charging sites along high-traffic highway corridors. The company plans to invest $2 billion during the next 10 years in infrastructure needed to support zero-emission vehicles.
Given Louisville is where three major interstates connect, it seems common sense (at least to us) that one or more of the sites could end up in this region.
As part of the investment, Electrify America also will install community-based charging sites in 11 metropolitan areas in the Northeast from Boston to Seattle, across California, and in Texas and Oklahoma.
Chicago-based real estate firm JLL is seeking sites such as mall REITS, restaurants, retailers, gasoline stations, mixed-use developments and hotels where the stations can be set up.
“We’re currently looking for accessible and regularly trafficked real estate locations that support drivers for the long-term and will keep the network of charging stations sustainable. The stations are brand neutral and are designed to service fast-charge capable EVs now and into the future,” said Walter Wahlfeldt, JLL’s executive vice president, in a statement. —Caitlin Bowling
Blue Equity acquires New York-based firm
A small New York representation management and advisory firm is now based in Louisville.
Private equity firm Blue Equity acquired the Big Apple’s Two Twelve Management for an undisclosed price, according to a news release. Blue Equity is expected to announce more lifestyle and talent firm acquisitions in the next several weeks.
Owner Jonathan Blue told Insider in an email that the company’s four employees including CEO Scott Feldman have stayed on following the purchase.
The acquisition is part of an effort to get back into the client representation business. Two Twelve represents chefs and culinary celebrities, including Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarian, Marc Murphy, Michael Symon and Tyler Florence.
“My management team and I believe that Two Twelve is a phenomenal management company, which represents many high-profile clients over a wide variety of industry mediums,” Blue said in the release. “Two Twelve’s client diversity will complement Blue Equity’s ‘full service’ platform. We plan to grow the company by giving Feldman access to our extensive network, providing back office services to streamline his enterprise and implement a more formal structure to an already efficient organization.
Back in 2010, Blue Equity sold its subsidiary Blue Entertainment Sports Television (BEST), which represented NFL, NBA and tennis professionals, as well as produced and marketed events. For years, the company was under a non-compete clause with the buyer Lagardère Unlimited, but it now is expired. —Caitlin Bowling
Westport Whiskey & Wine recognized as top retail leader by Market Watch magazine
It’s one of our best-kept secrets, but word is starting to get out about our beloved liquor store that’s much more than a liquor store. Westport Whiskey & Wine received an award on Thursday by Market Watch magazine, which recognizes progressive retailers in wine, spirits and beer each year in a special issue.
WW&W was one of six stores from around the country to be named a Market Watch Leader this year.
“We were truly humbled when we received the news and invitation to the banquet,” said WW&W co-owner Chris Zaborowski in a press release. “Considering there are thousands of retailers throughout America, it’s truly an honor to be recognized as a leader.”
Zaborowski accepted the award at a banquet held at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. The awards have been given out since 1984. He and co-owner Richard Splan will be featured extensively in a coming issue. —Sara Havens
Doctors office doubles in size in St. Matthews
Fertility and Endocrine Associates has expanded. The women’s reproductive health practice has added 1,705 square feet and five new exam rooms to its offices, located at 4123 Dutchmans Lane in St. Matthews.
That is double the amount of exam rooms that Fertility and Endocrine Associates had previously, according to a news release. The expansion is expected to allow the practice to serve 30 percent more patients.
As part of the expansion, Fertility and Endocrine Associates also added two consultation rooms, updated its embryology and andrology lab, and hired a new medical assistant. The office plans to add a physician and a nurse practitioner within the next year.
“With so many families waiting later in life to have children, the demand for fertility treatments continues to grow,” Miriam Krause, partner at Fertility and Endocrine Associates, said in the release. “Increasing our capacity and enhancing our lab environment to the newest technology will allow us to serve our patients even better, and help more couples start or expand their families than ever before.” —Caitlin Bowling
Pizza chain opening its first Southern Indiana shop
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza broke ground on its first store in Southern Indiana.
The California-based pizza chain will open in spring 2018 at 1225 Veterans Square Blvd. at Veterans Crossing retail development in Clarksville, Ind., according to a news release. It will be the fourth location owned and operated by local franchisee Millennial Restaurant Group.
“We’ve had our eye on Southern Indiana for some time, and we are thrilled to announce that we are now under construction at Veterans Crossing – an area that is sure to be a hub for Clarksville shoppers and families,” Ed Hitner, operating partner for Millennial Restaurant Group, said in the release.
Blaze sells personal thin crust pizzas for around $8. Customers can choose from signature pizza or choose their own toppings.
Buy a piece of Famous Dave’s
Chain barbecue restaurant Famous Dave’s closed its store in Clarksville, Ind., and is offering anybody and everybody the chance to buy a piece of it.
The store’s kitchen equipment, booths, wall decor and more are listed on RestaurantEquipment.bid. The auction has already started but goes until 10 a.m. Sept. 26. The bidding for each item started at $1.
The local Famous Dave’s auction is one of more than 500 restaurant closure auctions that RestaurantEquipment.bid has hosted in the past 10 months, according to the company. While a business closing isn’t a positive, the auction company noted that there is a silver lining. Restaurants auctioning items off at low prices create an opportunity for someone to outfit their restaurant kitchen at a fraction of the cost of new equipment.
“A brand-new mixer might cost $14,000, but at auction, it might go for $3,500 plus $500 for shipping,” Neal Sherman, president of RestaurantEquipment.bid said in a statement. “Most buyers at the online auctions aren’t local, and they don’t mind paying the cost to ship a large piece of equipment on a pallet. All things said-and-done, they’re still ahead of the game.” —Caitlin Bowling
WaterStep, which sent purification tech to Florida recently, said it had received two $25,000 grants from the Louisville Water Foundation and the UPS Foundation. The money will pay for renovations of the nonprofit’s headquarters and allow it to expand and enhance its manufacturing and assembly capabilities, WaterStep said in a news release.
UPS says it expects to hire about 3,400-holiday workers in the Louisville area, about the same as last year. Most of the jobs are at Worldport, and the pay ranges from $10.20 an hour for a package handler to $32 an hour for a tractor-trailer driver, according to a spokesman. The company says it’s offering a $200 weekly bonus on daytime and twilight shifts. Go to upsjobs.com to apply.