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.

This week, we’re taking a look at some big public companies here in Louisville. Humana released details about its executive and director compensations, which always provides for interesting reading. Meanwhile, investors are aggressively shorting Papa John’s stock, Ford might be undervalued, and a local investment firm with a name you might recognize is launching a fund for the rest of us.

Zombies are shuffling around in Frankfort as the session draws to a close, while over in the Highlands …

New restaurant (or two) at the Drexler Plumbing building on Bardstown Road at Douglass Loop?

The Drexler Plumbing building on Bardstown Road at Douglass Loop | Photo courtesy PVA
The Drexler Plumbing building on Bardstown Road at Douglass Loop | Photo courtesy PVA

The Douglass Loop has been on a tear the past several years. An area once dominated by a Taylor Drug (get in your way-back machine, folks) is now home to a host of restaurants, including the Dundee Gastropub, Havana Rumba, Cafe Lou Lou and Loop 22, as well as a Heine Bros. coffeeshop and a Graeter’s ice cream shop. (Not to mention the new CVS there where Kinko’s used to be).

Now, another restaurant (or two) could be in the works at the Tom Drexler Plumbing building, at 2232 Bardstown Road. Drexler, who moved the bulk of his longtime plumbing business to Buechel last year, put the 14,500-square-foot space on the market for lease in January.

Predictably, according to broker Alex Sandrella at Semonin, who’s repping the property, the interest has been significant. The space, which has retail in the front and a warehouse in the back, could accommodate multiple businesses, he says. It’s currently metered for three. Not to mention the modest parking lot on top. It’s hard enough to find parking in the Loop anymore; those spots are premium real estate for a tenant looking to accommodate crowds.

Sandrella says there’s no contract yet, so he wouldn’t get into any details. But he did acknowledge that multiple restaurateurs have looked at the space, along with a fitness-oriented business and some “new concepts” that want to get into the Louisville market.

“The first criteria is that they have an attractive business that’s going to enhance the building and the neighborhood, and they’re going to pay their bills,” he says. “Outside of that, there’s no fixed category.”

A real estate insider who knows the neighborhood tells IL to expect at least two new tenants at the Drexler building: Qdoba and a bourbon-themed concept by a local group.

It’d be an interesting choice for Qdoba, which has a location 1.1 miles away on Bardstown Road at Eastern Parkway. That proximity isn’t unheard of, especially in a dense neighborhood like the Highlands, which for years boasted two Heine Bros. locations in the same spots as we’re talking about now. The semi-Mexi chain requires between 2,000 and 2,400 square feet at a location, which would almost guarantee a second — and maybe even third — business in the building. It also places franchises in areas with high incomes, dense populations, and other amenities nearby. The Highlands/Douglass Loop checks all those boxes, of course.

Drexler plans to maintain an office in the space, no matter what goes in, according to Sandrella. He says Drexler believes it’s important to stay loyal to his Highlands roots, and the neighborhood has been awfully good to the company over the years.

Drexler bought the building in 1994 for $347,000. It was last assessed in 2007 at just south of $500,000, according to the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator.

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