The Closing Bell: Some interesting potential tenants consider former Taco Punk space

We created The Closing Bell after we figured out staffers, contributors and insiders were sitting on too much news that couldn’t wait for the Monday Business Briefing.

Since then, TCB has become one of our best-read features, because the tips never stop rolling in around here.

Now let’s close out this cold and dreary week with one last batch of biz news, then get on with the weekend…

TP Gates

The wrought-iron facade of the former Taco Punk at 736 E. Market St.

Former Taco Punk location getting nibbles from interesting would-be renters

The site of the recently closed Taco Punk is popping up on the radars of a lot of restaurateurs and retailers, says Bill Marzian, who owns the NuLu property. He said it hasn’t even been formally listed, but there has been ample interest from people both within Louisville and from other cities.

He said Pi Pizzeria, located in St. Louis, has expressed interest in the site. The firm already has multiple locations, not just in St. Louis, but also Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and soon will have a spot in Miami Beach. Scouts for a gourmet hamburger establishment also have shown interest in renting the property.

In addition, a few Louisville restaurateurs also have scoped out the site, but Marzian wouldn’t disclose their names.

Marzian said he’s surprised there have been so many inquiries so quickly.

In September, Taco Punk owner Gabe Sowder announced plans to close the struggling restaurant, blaming bridge construction traffic for hurting business. Last month, Sowder began selling off equipment at the restaurant, much of which still remains, according to Marzian, and which must go before the rental process is formally launched (hint, hint).

Marzian owns a few other properties, including the building that houses Peace of the Earth (just across from IL headquarters), also on East Market Street.

Raymond James nabs four-person team from J.P. Morgan Securities

Raymond James has been on a bit of a hiring spree recently, adding a new four-person financial advisor team to their Louisville operations. This information comes from Tom Hirsch, Kentucky complex manager for Raymond James.

Tom Hirsch

Tom Hirsch

The team came aboard Raymond James on Nov. 3 and includes the financial advisors John Shaver, William Richard Jones Jr., and Jon Travis Rice. Beth Haines also is part of the team but is listed as a stock broker, not an investment advisor, according to information provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

The team comes from the recently shuttered private bank/wealth management division that had been operated by J.P. Morgan Chase.

Hirsch declined to say how big this team was, in terms of assets under management, but did say they all are solid citizens in the securities industry, with clean records and long decades of service. John Shaver, he said, had been with J.P. Morgan for 31 years. This last part needs a bit of explaining: Shaver had not literally been with Morgan for 31 years, but rather worked at one firm after another that was bought out or merged. Firms changed names, but always kept him, until he finally ended up at the entity called J.P. Morgan Chase.

This, however, is truly a new beginning for Shaver, at a truly new firm.

“This is validation that we have the tools and resources to be highly successful,” Hirsch said.

Hirsch also said he doesn’t believe Raymond James is done yet, as there could be more hiring to come. He also believes the firm will have to expand at least one of its Louisville locations due to growth at the firm.

In the past two months Raymond James has acquired other employees in Louisville, including the husband-wife team of advisor Patrick Yates and marketer Carole Yates, and the two-man FA team of Rob Walsh and Travis Jaggers. In Evansville, Ind., which also is overseen by Hirsch, the firm recently hired FA Burk McCarthey.

One industry insider complimented Hirsch on the job he’s done with luring talent from other firms, and the corporate culture at Raymond James in general. “They consistently are ranking tops in the polls among all wirehouses for how brokers feel about management,” the insider said. A wirehouse is securities industry lingo for a large brokerage and investment firm.