Kentucky Towers sold for $17.7 million

Kentucky Towers

Kentucky Towers | Courtesy Marcus & Millichap

Kentucky Towers, a 276-unit apartment property in downtown Louisville, has sold for $17.7 million, according to Marcus & Millichap, which handled the sale.

The buyer is a limited liability company, according to the announcement. Insider reached out to M&M for more information.

As Insider previously reported the 18-story apartment complex at Fifth Street and West Muhammad Ali Boulevard was open to offers as early as January 2016.

South Fifth Towers LLC, an affiliate of Arden, bought the property in 2005 for $7.65 million. It was built in 1924, according to Jefferson County property records.

Underhill Associates called the conversion of Kentucky Towers (formerly Kentucky Hotel) into mixed-use complex featuring apartments, office space, retail, and an athletic club, “a key milestone project,” adding, “it catapulted the company into the national spotlight in the early 1970s.”—Mickey Meece

New Albany to revamp its waterfront skatepark

A rendering of New Albany's new Flow Park

A rendering of New Albany’s new Flow Park | Courtesy of Carnegie Center

In one of the most ambitious public art projects to date in New Albany, plans are underway to revamp an outdated waterfront skatepark into an aesthetically pleasing, state-of-the-art skateable park courtesy of Southern Indiana Tourism, Develop New Albany, the Carnegie Center for Art and History and several other partners.

The project will be called Flow Park.

“New Albany has been focused on improving quality of life in the city for years, and the Flow Park will provide another exciting, functional and interactive venue for citizens and guests,” said Mayor Jeff Gahan in a news release.

While featuring ramps, lifts and other structures commonly found at a skatepark, the project also will highlight the area’s history as a river town, complete with a steamboat and symbols of Ohio River bridges and land- and waterscapes. Flow Park will be located between the New Albany Amphitheater and the Sherman Minton Bridge.

It is part of the Ohio River Greenway Project, which connects three Southern Indiana communities with a multi-use path and also helps integrate art and creativity with healthy living. The design firm leading the project is Hunger Skateparks, based in Bloomington, Ind. Construction will begin in August. —Sara Havens

Smoke-Free Coalition releases legislative agenda

Courtesy of Pixabay

The steering committee of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow has announced its agenda for the 2020 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

The coalition’s four main priorities include trying to raise the tobacco-purchasing age from 18 to 21 in Kentucky if federal efforts, such as Sen. Mitch McConnell’s recently proposed bill, fail.

It also supports increasing the current excise tax on regular cigarettes by $1 a pack (Right now, it’s at $1.10) and placing an excise tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products to thwart youth usage.

The coalition will push for $10 million in funding to help Kentuckians kick their tobacco habits. That would be an increase from the 2019-2020 prevention-and-cessation funding of $3.8 million. —Darla Carter

Private investment data hints at slowing Kentucky economy

Private employers have committed $2.4 billion in investments in the state in the first half of the year — but the data hint at a slowing Kentucky economy.

Last year, planned investments in the first six months of the year totaled nearly $3.3 billion, which means this year’s total so far represents a decline of about 27%.

And last year’s total, of $5.3 billion, was down 39% from 2017, though that year was a record, with $8.7 billion in announced investments, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Matt Bevin.

Since Bevin took office, planned investments have exceeded $20 billion, “an all-time record for any four-year administration,” the governor’s office said. The planned investments were to support the creation of nearly 54,000 full-time jobs.

The totals represent intentions and may not materialize for years — or at all — and are subject to revision.

A portrait of Vivek Sarin

Vivek Sarin

“This achievement represents tremendous efforts by Gov. Bevin and his staff, our and fellow cabinets, legislators and partners across the state. However, our work is far from done,” said Vivek Sarin, interim secretary for the Cabinet for Economic Development.

Investments in Louisville last year also declined, falling to a six-year low — though they can swing wildly from one year to another, primarily depending on whether large employers, such as Ford or UPS are planning expansions.

Real estate experts also had told Insider that industrial investments may be hampered by the lack of available developable land. The economic expansion has meant many industrial sites have been snatched up, leaving few buildings empty and few properties ready to be developed.

In addition, employers’ concerns about labor costs and availability have risen as the unemployment rate has declined.

In brief

A year after the Chronicle of Higher Education named former University of Louisville president James Ramsey the highest-paid public university president in 2017, things have balanced out. President Neeli Bendapudi’s roughly $500,000 salary put her slightly below the average income for this year’s list for the 2018 calendar year. Former interim president Greg Postel’s nearly $1 million salary landed him in the top 15.

Have a student headed back to a Jefferson County classroom next month? You’re in luck — the district will be handing out free school supplies at events across the county from this weekend until mid-August. A full list of events can be found on the district’s website.

Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, will be the topic of the Wednesday, July 17, Beer with a Scientist. The free event, which starts at 7 p.m., at Holsopple Brewing, 8023 Catherine Lane, will feature Dr. Jason Chesney of the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Irving W. Bailey II, a senior adviser to Chrysalis, became a board member of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution.