Welcome to the Nov. 10 Monday Business Briefing.
This is your private business intelligence briefing with Insider Louisville staff and contributors vetting tips collected during the past few days, hours and minutes before we post.
This week’s MBB runs the gamut, from retail, real estate and restaurant scoops to Humana and GLI news…
Costco coming soon to Showcase Cinemas site?
Here’s what we know about the old National Amusements Showcase Cinemas site on Bardstown Road in Bashford Manor: Now just an empty 20-acre parking lot since the movie theater was closed and razed, the property has been on the market since 2004, priced at around $4 million, with no takers.
But records show it finally has a new owner. According to the Jefferson County PVA, it was sold in September to a company called Playa Plaza, a Florida Foreign LLC managed by Mark Blieden, who also is head of Kaden Cos., the commercial real estate firm co-founded by his father.
Here’s what we don’t know: What plans Blieden has for his new property.
But here’s what we heard from one real estate insider: Costco might be interested.
The innovative warehouse retailer out of Issaquah, Wash., currently has only one Louisville location, at Brownsboro Crossing. Bashford Manor is a neighborhood filled with big box retail, including a Walmart Supercenter.
Would Walmart be a formidable challenge? Retailers like locations that include competitors because they know they’ll have built-in customer traffic.
And as for taking on Walmart, Costco has never shied away from – and rarely lost – that kind of head-to-head competition.
So it would make sense. But, so far at least, Blieden isn’t talking. We’ll let you know when he does.
Bourbon Barrel moving into Frankfort Avenue digs
It didn’t take Louisville real estate magnate Andy Blieden long to act once he found out the Jerry Heston Hairdressing Salon was vacating its Crescent Hill location for a newer, bigger space on Shelbyville Road.
In fact, it took one phone call from Gant Hill & Associates, the listing broker – the only call Hill said he made once the space became available.
Blieden has purchased it as a first-ever retail store for his Butchertown Market tenant Bourbon Barrel Foods, which is exciting news for aficionados of Bourbon Barrel’s products, which is nearly everyone in Louisville. (By the way, Andy Blieden is the brother of the aforementioned Mark Blieden … busy family.)
This gives Bourbon Barrel more elbow room to spread out than the shelf space it currently has in gift shops, farm stores, specialty food shops, liquor stores and boutiques around Louisville, like Taste of Kentucky, Work the Metal and the 21c Hotel. (It’s even sold at the Clean Sweep Carwash in Lexington.)
It also gives Matt Jamie more control over how his uniquely bourbon-aged products are distributed, displayed and even explained.
With the deal just having closed on Friday, Jamie couldn’t begin renovating the 1,000-square-foot space until now, which means it won’t be open for the all-important Christmas 2014 season. He’s now shooting for January 2015, which means he’ll have four months under his belt by Derby – Louisville retailing’s “second Christmas.”
And in other Andy Blieden/Butchertown Market news…