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.
It’s been a busy week preparing for more wall-to-wall March Madness. After fits and starts, we’ve got action at The 800 Building, which should please fans of turquoise paneling. Power Creative is down a Power at the top but up a longtime loyalist, while OOHology is growing through acquisition. We go inside the design of Louisville’s new Trees initiative. There’s also Fast Dozen’s off-your-radar picks, a Wall Street analyst’s ode to Stock Yards, and a closer look at key local stocks.
Meanwhile, the Embassy Suites on Fourth Street has a new name and signage, which we find a little, how you say, déconcertant.
The 800 Building is under contract; prospective buyer plans changes
At long last, The 800 Building is about to get a makeover. Exactly what’s in store for the enigmatic downtown tower at Fourth and York streets, though, we’re not yet sure.
Chicago-based developer Village Green this week sent out an invitation for a neighborhood meeting to discuss its plans to convert some of The 800’s multi-bedroom units into one-bedrooms. There are 246 units in the building; 96 of them are either two-, three- or four-bedroom apartments.
These are the very early stages, as the company has not yet closed on the purchase of the building, nor has it filed any further plans with Metro government. Broker George Tikijian of Indianapolis-based Tikijian Associates, who handled the property in its 2002 sale and represents the current owner, would not confirm the name of any potential buyer. The building has been on the market — without an asking price — since fall 2014. It was assessed in January 2014 at $10.1 million.
The 29-story building, which opened in 1963 as a model of luxurious urban living, has struggled to regain traction as the downtown housing market has grown in recent years. And while its turquoise-spotted aluminum skin gives it one of the most recognizable facades in Louisville, The 800’s days of glitz and glam are long past.
Village Green, which did not respond to a request for comment, has residential developments in 22 cities, including Chicago and Atlanta. The company owns and manages five apartment complexes in Florence, Ky, and is known for doing higher-end redevelopments of urban properties, such as the Flats at East Bank in Cleveland.
There is plenty of opportunity for growth at The 800 Building, although it has received several significant upgrades in the past decade, including new air conditioners in every unit and new elevators. It’s three blocks from Fourth Street Live and within a couple miles of the KFC Yum! Center and Slugger Field.
“It is a great asset in a great location that’s continuing to get better as housing in and around downtown really explodes,” Tikijian says. “It is an older property, and there is certainly the opportunity to upgrade it and take it to a higher level, for sure.”
We’ll know soon whether that’s what Village Green has in mind.
Oh c’mon now, Embassy Suites … really?
Awfully pretentious for a hotel that close to the decidedly lower-brow Fourth Street Live. And if you’re going to go with French, why not go whole hog and at least make it correct French: “Le Centre Sur Quatrième.”
You know Kentuckians will murder this name. Heck, anyone without at least a year of high school French is going to butcher it. Of course all of this is happening on SoFo, y’all.
Lay Centray on Fourth, anyone? It opens April 9.
On the bright side, Embassy has lined its rear parking lot with bushes and saplings, incorporating a bit of green into what would otherwise be a sea of asphalt. Magnifique!