Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops before the weekend — a roundup of real estate, retail, financial and other business news that can’t wait for Monday.
As Computershare officially opens its new Louisville office — pledging 250 jobs along with it — we take a look at who made their Meidinger Tower digs a little homier. The layoffs are hitting Slugger after Hillerich & Bradsby’s $70 million deal with Wilson closes, but some are finding work elsewhere — including at the batmaker’s new corporate HQ. Copper & Kings expands is distribution, Funtown is Kickstartering, ALDI is hiring, and it’s a heady time to be in advertising here in the River City.
But first, inside the latest evolution at Norton Commons …
Why apartments at Norton Commons were the natural next step
The Veranda at Norton Commons officially opened its doors on Thursday. The 236-unit upscale complex boasts the first rentals in the 11-year-old New Urbanist development, which straddles the Jefferson-Oldham County line. It marks another evolution for Norton Commons, which has amply demonstrated that you can plop a micro-city onto farmland outside the Gene Snyder, eschew traditional suburban design, and still be successful.
For its part, Veranda opened with 70 units rented, about 30 percent of its overall stock. The luxe apartments, granite- and hardwood-apportioned, are renting for $990-$1,600 per month. They average nearly 1,100 square feet per apartment.
The company behind Veranda is Bristol Development Group, which is headquartered in Nashville but has made a pretty grand entrance into Louisville since announcing its Norton Commons project in 2013. Along with Veranda, Bristol is behind Main and Clay, the proposed $48 million, seven-story mixed-use development in Butchertown that has drawn the ire of some preservationists.
Bristol CEO Charles Carlisle talked with IL extensively about his company’s strategies behind both projects, why a developer in quickly saturating Music City might look to Louisville, and where he sees our city headed in the next decade. We’ll post a longer story on all that later today.
For now, we’ll stick to Veranda, which Carlisle says is designed to appeal to a different demographic — one identified only as people have started to establish themselves in communities such as Norton Commons. He said New Urbanist developments in Franklin, Tenn., where he lives, and around the country have revealed an unexpected trend as they’ve aged: multigenerational appeal. As younger generations age and start families, parents and grandparents want to live nearby.
“In the community I live in in Franklin, there are people of all ages — from young families to people retirement age and older — and often you’ll find that the grandparents moved back to one of those communities to be close to children and grandchildren,” he says. “So when we were designing the apartments, we tried to appeal to a broad demographic group — including that set of 50 and older who are looking for a simpler lifestyle but want quality.”
Bristol’s projects are a mix of the sort of water’s edge neighborhoods like Norton Commons and urban infill. They were active early builders in Nashville’s super-successful Gulch neighborhood and are developing in nearby 12South now. They have established developments in cities as big as Austin and as small as Auburn, Ala.
Slugger workers finding new jobs after sale to Wilson
Amer Sports Corp., the Finland-based parent company of Wilson Sporting Goods, completed its $70 million purchase of the Louisville Slugger brand this week. Meanwhile, some workers displaced from the Slugger factory and corporate office on West Main Street after the sale have been getting new jobs.
IL learned last week that at least one former exec at the iconic batmaker had landed at the Chicago homebase of Wilson, and such arrangements are expected to continue. Hillerich & Bradsby also hired an employment placement agency to help employees find work.
When Slugger and Wilson announced the acquisition in March, they also acknowledged Slugger’s workforce — most of which is located here — would shrink from 273 employees to 177. Forty-four workers would transfer to Wilson, while 52 would lose their jobs. Most of those losses are coming from the IT, accounting and financial services departments — jobs that often become corporate redundancies after acquisitions.
Slugger spokesman Rick Redman tells IL the “transition is underway and will be ongoing through the summer and into the early fall.” However, he said he couldn’t provide details on any Slugger employees heading to Wilson’s Chicago HQ or how many of the 52 people laid off have gotten other work. He did say “a number of the people being displaced have already found new employment.”