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.
Papa John’s C-suite executive exits with $1.4 million
Pizza chain Papa John’s announced this month that its chief development officer Timothy O’Hern, a senior vice president at the company, was retiring effective immediately. However, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, O’Hern’s departure is being treated as “termination without cause.”
According to a Papa John’s proxy statement, O’Hern will receive just over $1.4 million, the majority of which is in stock options, restricted stock and performance stock. In addition to $225,000 in salary, he will get a $105,056 bonus as part of this departure agreement.
In 2017, O’Hern earned just over $1 million in total compensation from Papa John’s. His base salary was $420,443.
The SEC filing notes that O’Hern signed “a customary waiver and full release of claims against the Company” as part of the termination agreement.
Papa John’s could be insulating itself from any potential future controversy as it continues to battle founder John Schnatter. A July Forbes article quoted sources accusing Schnatter and others, including O’Hern, of creating or contributing to a toxic culture; O’Hern denied the accusations against him.
The company continues to distance itself from Schnatter and has debuted new advertising and a website highlighting, franchisees, managers and others at Papa John’s. AdAge also reported that Papa John’s might be dropping the apostrophe in its name. —Caitlin Bowling
Here’s what you should know about One Park
First of all, One Park itself is new.
The name given to the developer Kevin Cogan’s 30-plus story proposed development at Lexington Road and Grinstead Drive was only revealed when plans for the project were formally submitted to Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services. Cogan’s team has asked the city to designate the property as PDD, meaning it will have its own zoning regulations limiting what it can and cannot be.
The documents submitted to the city also reveal that the total estimated cost of the project is $450 million to $500 million. An initial conservative estimate given during the early days of discussion about the project was more than $200 million.
“No single private development project in the history of Louisville has involved as significant a financial investment as this one is anticipated and designed to involve,” attorney Bill Bardenwerper, who is representing Cogan, wrote in a statement arguing the plan complies with the city’s comprehensive plan.
Otherwise, the statistics of the project have remained the same as what was presented at a public meeting in June: Cogan wants to erect a development that includes three towers rising to a maximum height of 34 stories and housing 40,936 square feet of retail, 65,216 square feet of office space, a 299-room hotel and 581 apartment units and/or condominiums. A 1,788-space, six-story parking garage would be built in the center of the property, wrapped in residential and commercial space to limit its visibility.
“Considering growth pressures on the greater community, and being honest about the very real competition to accommodate that growth between suburban and urban interests, the applicant has envisioned for this site a stunning building design that will receive national acclaim for its architecture, that combines mixed interactive residential and commercial uses and that embraces its location, which is adjacent to a major urban park at the gateway to Louisville’s increasingly competitive and growing and improving downtown,” the statement says.
The project has faced backlash from some residents since it was first announced in 2016. Residents will undoubtedly turn out in droves to speak against or in favor of Cogan’s plan throughout the planning and design process.
Now, that the plans have been filed they will be reviewed by city planning staff and ultimately go before the Planning Commission for a public hearing and a vote. The commission also could ask Cogan to alter his plan. Louisville Metro Council has the final vote on the project. The council could approve, reject or send the plan back to the Planning Commission for revisions.
Bardenwerper told Insider that no decision had been made as to whether Cogan will ask for tax incentives to help finance the development.
Check out more details of the plan in One Park’s pattern book below:
Distillery shuffle: Big staff changes at Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Heaven Hill
There’s been some movement in the bourbon industry this week, but rest assured, the more than seven million barrels aging in Kentucky at the moment have not been disturbed.
The biggest news of the week is that Denny Potter, former master distiller at Heaven Hill, is now the master distiller for Maker’s Mark, where he worked for seven years before his five-year stint at Heaven Hill.
“It has always been a dream of mine to be a master distiller and a part of our industry’s rich heritage, and now I have the honor and privilege of returning to Maker’s Mark as an ambassador and established leader for the organization,” Potter said in a news release.
Greg Davis, who was the current master distiller at Maker’s, is now taking on a new role — director of distillation — at Jim Beam, which is Maker’s sister company (both are owned by Beam Suntory). Davis has worked at Maker’s since 2010.
And in other staffing news, Victoria MacRae-Samuels, the vice president of operations and plant manager at Maker’s, will be moving on to Beam Suntory’s Global Innovation Center as senior director of global quality. MacRae-Samuels started at Jim Beam in 1989 and hopped over to Maker’s Mark in 2008 as the director of operations. In 2010, she was promoted to her current role, becoming the only woman at the time to hold that position in the spirits industry.
Also, Maker’s distillery maturation specialist, Jane Bowie, who has been with the company for more than a decade, has been promoted to director of Private Select and diplomat program. This is quite fitting, as Bowie is the main driver of the highly successful and unique Maker’s Private Select Experience.
Insider reached out to Heaven Hill to find out who might replace Potter. Lauren Cherry, assistant communications manager, said that remains to be seen, and there will be a period of transition after Potter leaves.
“We will continue to operate with our expected standards of commitment to quality and consistency established by Parker Beam, continued by Denny, and carried forward by our teams for the time being,” Cherry said. “We will look for someone who can maintain the traditions of our previous master distillers, including a commitment to heritage, quality, authenticity and transparency. Moreover, we expect someone who will have an eye toward innovation and vision that can lead an exceptional team.”
Coffee shop adds ax throwing
Ax-throwing businesses are growing in popularity, but most, including the locally owned Flying Axes, center around drinking beer and enjoying some sharp-edged competition.
Jonathan Kane said he wanted to join the ax-throwing — which he compared to bowling in the 1970s — with another kind of drink that brings people together: coffee.
“Coffee is a very social drink, I’d say, even more than alcohol,” he said in an interview.
Kane opened Stonehouse Coffee Co. in Clarksville, Ind., in November 2017, serving up coffee and espresso drinks from Louisville-based Sunergos Coffee, as well as tea, smoothies, protein shakes and pastries. After an adjoining space next to his coffee shop remained vacant, Kane’s landlord approached him about turning the space into an ax-throwing business — something Kane had mentioned to him before.
“We thought ‘Hey, why not,’ ” Kane said.
On Friday, Kane is cutting the ribbon on the indoor ax-throwing business, called Battle Grounds, at 1430 Cedar St. The space has five cages for throwing, and each can have up to eight people taking turns throwing axes and sipping on coffee from Stonehouse Coffee Co. —Caitlin Bowling
1 Million Cups speakers talk ‘Innovation By Design’
This month, 1 Million Cups hosted the founders of Kale & Flax and Natalie O Design at the civic innovation hub LouieLab to talk about “Innovation By Design.”
Kale & Flax is an experiential data and design firm founded by Tarik Nally, who originally said he was only going to be in Louisville for nine months, but decided to stay and created his own firm here. Nally is now helping build up the entrepreneurial community in Louisville.
Partnering with Stacy Servo, Nally helped create Wild Accelerator, an incubator for female entrepreneurs, founded in part on the statistic that women-led startups see a 35 percent higher return on investment.
From an applicant pool of 52 entrepreneurs from around the country, Nally and Servo narrowed it down to three: DryBaby, 3D Printing Academy for Girls and Feet to the Fire Writing Workshops. The companies participated in a nine-week intensive program, in which they learned from mentors and get about $25,000 in in-kind services, such as accounting and legal, and a $20,000 investment, Nally said. The plan for the future is to do three cohorts per year with six participants.
At first, Nally, said, several people told him there weren’t enough entrepreneurs in Louisville to make Wild Accelerator a viable product, but when they got so many applications, they realized that there is still “walls of intimidation” for women entrepreneurs.
Natalie O Design was born out of an experience that founder Natalie Officer had shortly after moving to Louisville in 2017. Officer was invited to design a home for Homearama, but she said she panicked when she realized the other Homearama homes looked different from the one she had just designed.
She later realized, she said, that it was a good thing — it made her stand out in the market. “It’s the worst thing you can possibly do as a creative, is to fall into the comparison trap,” she said.
She said what held her back for many years is that she wasn’t “showing her work” because she was worried that people would steal her ideas, but when you don’t show your work, you’re not putting your business in the public eye. The trajectory of her company took off when she started putting photos on social media.
Her lessons for success: “The things you didn’t think you could do … do them. The things that feel uncomfortable … do those, too. And there isn’t actually ever bad work if you make it your own.” —Lisa Hornung
A handful of WaterStep members plan to travel on Sunday to bring award-winning equipment and tools for water disinfectant to aid those affected by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas.
Brunch spot First Watch opened the doors of its fifth area location this week. The new store, located at 2225 Taylorsville Road, replaced an Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar that had closed. The hours of operation for the Highlands restaurant are 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
Brownie’s “The Shed” Grille & Bar opened its new location at 9900 Linn Station Road yesterday, Sept. 20. The sports bar and restaurant had to relocate after its lease was not renewed for its Whittington Parkway store.