Welcome to the Aug. 29 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Fincastle building now part of SoBro college housing project


The Fincastle building on South Broadway will serve as student housing. | Photo by Sarah Kelley

Louisville architecture firm Luckett & Farley’s entry into college student housing isn’t contained to the Jefferson Educational Center at 200 W. Broadway.

We knew about this last week when reporting on plans for Jefferson Educational Center, but no papers had been signed at the time. Now that there is a formal agreement signed, Insider Louisville can report that Luckett & Farley also is partnering with Louisville real estate investment company Taurus Capital Management to bring student housing to 305 W. Broadway, also known as the Fincastle building.

Media previously reported that Taurus Capital Management was renovating the 89-year-old, six-story building into a 40-unit market-rate apartment complex, and that was the plan originally. That’s changed.

Tim Pitcher, president of Luckett & Farley Development, said he knew work was wrapping up on the apartments at Fincastle and because Luckett & Farley saw a need for more college student housing, he reached out and started negotiations with Taurus Capital Management.

“It came about relatively quickly,” Pitcher said, adding: “Supporting our neighbors in the SoBro, south of Broadway, that is where that is all stemming from.”

Unlike the Jefferson Educational Center, Luckett & Farley will not own the Fincastle building, he said. Taurus Capital Management will retain ownership of the property.

Realtors Gant Hill and Robert Wang with Louisville-based Gant Hill & Associates are management partners in both the Fincastle and Jefferson Educational Center projects, as well. They plan to form a new property management company with Luckett & Farley that will oversee management of both buildings, Hill told IL.

“We are honored to be a part of it,” Hill said. “I haven’t witnessed in my career the momentum for the benefit of everybody at the scale that is occurring. Tim (Pitcher) is really using vision and expertise …to really bring some horsepower to our community, and he has been able to find synergy among the stakeholders in that five or six block radius.”

Fincastle will have 40 student apartments, a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, on floors three through six. The apartments were pretty much ready made, but the change in tenants required some additional investment in furniture, Pitcher said. The plan originally was to rent them unfurnished, which doesn’t work well with student housing.

The first floor of Fincastle will remain as retail space, and the second floor will act as office space.

Combined, Fincastle and Jefferson Educational Center have 94 apartments, or roughly 300 beds for students at Louisville colleges and universities. Similar to the housing in Jefferson Educational Center, Fincastle likely will house students in the Metropolitan College, a UPS-training program jointly run by the University of Louisville and Jefferson Community and Technical College.

Luckett & Farley decided to get involved in managing and creating student housing along Broadway “because of the perceived need of the UPS program in particular,” Pitcher said, as well as the residential needs of other students in the area. “We think there is an opportunity to help provide that housing, and (the Fincastle development) is just another way we are doing that.”

The addition of student housing to the neighborhood will help craft “an education corridor,” said Ty Handy, president of JCTC, which is headquartered at 200 W. Broadway.

“You have the public library here and intellectual organizations like Luckett & Farley, so it starts to make sense from a community development perspective,” he added. —Caitlin Bowling

Local Stock Focus: PharMerica, Sypris shares spike

Stock review Aug. 26

A meeting of the Federal Reserve on Friday failed to impress investors, as stocks had a lackluster day and week. However, PharMerica and Sypris Solutions posted significant gains.

Shares of Louisville-based pharmacy services provider PharMerica rose sharply after Reuters reported that the company was considering a sale. Sypris posted gains after releasing its second-quarter report, in which it announced that it sold its cyber security solutions business for $42 million. Sypris provides manufacturing, engineering and other technical services to corporations and government agencies in trucking, aerospace and defense electronics industries.

What to watch for this week: Brown-Forman Corp. will release first-quarter earnings on Wednesday. —Boris Ladwig

Thousands sign up for bridge toll accounts

River link logoSave yourself a couple bucks — literally — and sign up for a RiverLink account.

Drivers who don’t cash in on a free RiverLink transponder and create an account for the all-electronic tolling system will pay $2 more per trip across the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, the Abraham Lincoln Bridge and the East End bridge.

Tolls are expected to start later this year, but a specific date hasn’t been set. Local drivers who regularly use those three bridges will pay $2 per crossing — if they have a transponder and RiverLink account, that is. Drivers who aren’t registered must pay $4 per trip.

RiverLink began letting people start accounts as of July 21, and as of Aug. 25, more than 4,000 people have opened personal accounts, and more than 100 businesses have opened commercial accounts, according to a news release.

“We’re thrilled with the number of drivers who have already taken that first step of opening their accounts,” Megan McLain, innovative finance manager with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said in the release. “Having a RiverLink account and transponder is the key to receiving the lowest toll rates.”

In addition to two customer service centers, RiverLink representatives were set up at the Kentucky State Fair to answer questions and start accounts for people. For more information on the cost and how to sign up for an account, check out RiverLink.com. —Caitlin Bowling

The city explores options for saving historic west Louisville home

The Peter C. Doerhoefer house is located in the Chickasaw neighborhood. | Courtesy of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government

The Peter C. Doerhoefer house is located in the Chickasaw neighborhood. | Courtesy of Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government

A section of the historic Peter C. Doerhoefer house on West Broadway is in danger of collapse, but Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government hopes to find a way to save the vacant building.

The city issued an order for an emergency demolition on Aug. 5, and a separate review of the building by local engineering firm Qk4 showed the back was structurally unsound and in immediate danger of falling down, according to a news release. Develop Louisville has strengthened the fence around the property to keep people out.

“We don’t know if this building can be saved, but we are exploring all options,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in the release.

The property, at 4422 W. Broadway in the Chickasaw neighborhood, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a local landmark. Christ Temple Apostolic Church owns it.

Doerhoefer was an executive at Monarch Tobacco Works, a company founded in Louisville in the early 20th century. His father Basil Doerhoefer owned the house next door, which also is on the National Register of Historic Places.

To see Qk4’s report and more pictures of the property, click here. —Caitlin Bowling

Americana Community Center receives $18,000 grant

[give] 502 members | Photo by [give] 502

[give] 502 members | Photo by [give] 502

Every year, the young professional giving circle [give] 502 pools their donations and gives the entire amount to a single charity. This year’s recipient is the Americana Community Center, which will receive $18,000 to help fund its Employment Education Class for the center’s refugee and immigrant communities.

“We are very grateful for this opportunity to begin an Employment Education Class for our refugee and immigrant participants,” Claire Rutz, director of development at Americana Community Center, said in a news release.

Specifically, the donation will help fund the purchase of computers and supplies for the class, which teaches computer and financial literacy and career development to local refugees and immigrants, many of whom have been on a waiting list for such programming for years.

“This is a huge step for Americana as we continue to serve the post-resettlement population to make sure they have the tools to thrive in their new hometown,” Rutz added.

[give] 502 consists of more than 40 people from the Louisville area and is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Louisville. One hundred percent of members’ annual contribution goes toward [give] 502’s annual grant to a Louisville-area nonprofit.

Americana Community Center was founded in 1990 to serve refugee, immigrant and low-income communities by providing them with a bridge toward success through training programs, family support and youth programs.

This is the third year of the [give] 502 grant program; other recipients have been Paws with a Purpose, which received $23,500 to help train service dogs, and the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, which received $20,000 to start a weekend field trip program for the children they serve. —Melissa Chipman

Mint Julep Tours will open its new HQ on Sept. 8

Courtesy of Mint Julep Tours

Courtesy of Mint Julep Tours

Earlier this year, IL told you about Mint Julep Tours & Transportation‘s plans to move into the Mellwood Avenue space vacated by the furniture consignment shop Eyedia, which moved to Baxter Avenue. Nearly eight months later, the tour company is ready to celebrate the grand opening of its new headquarters.

Just like the bourbon industry, Mint Julep Tours has steadily grown since its inception eight years ago. Founders Sean and Lisa Higgins say the move from NuLu to Mellwood Avenue was necessary due to that growth.

“As the bourbon and tourism industries in Kentucky have grown, so have we,” says Sean Higgins in a press release. “It was time we made a move that allowed us to continue to expand and grow. We’re extremely excited about this new space and can’t wait for the opportunities that will come along with it.”

In addition to the 7,000 square feet of space the new location provides, the company constructed a 5,500-square-foot garage to house all of its buses, vans and other vehicles.

A grand opening celebration is planned for Thursday, Sept. 8, at 4 p.m. at the new headquarters, 1631 Mellwood Ave. The mayor will be on hand, as will the Higgins, Stacey Yates of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Don Parkinson of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. —Sara Havens

Copper & Kings distiller named one of Wine Enthusiast’s ’40 Under 40′

Brandon O'Daniel in Wine Enthusiast | Photo by Paul Aresu

Brandon O’Daniel in Wine Enthusiast | Photo by Paul Aresu

And the accolades keep pouring out of Butchertown’s not-so-little brandy distillery. Brandon O’Daniel, head distiller at Copper & Kings American Brandy, was just named to Wine Enthusiast’s annual “40 Under 40” list of best beverage industry tastemakers.

The 37-year-old O’Daniel was featured alongside the country’s best sommeliers, brewers and beverage experts. The article had this to say about O’Daniel:

“Brandy’s comeback in the U.S. can largely be credited to Copper & Kings. With O’Daniel at the helm, the environmentally friendly Louisville distillery lets the fruit take center stage. Armed with a master’s degree in plant and soil science from the University of Kentucky, O’Daniel turns out additive-free grape and apple brandies with expressive, natural aromatics and rich flavors, thanks to various Kentucky Bourbon barrel- and Sherry cask-finishes. An American apple brandy aged in Tequila barrels, 3 Marlenas, is scheduled for release this fall.”

Cheers to O’Daniel and Copper & Kings for another national mention. —Sara Havens

PNC Bank upgrades ATMs

Courtesy of PNC.

Courtesy of PNC.

PNC Bank will upgrade 9,000 automated teller machines, including 309 in Louisville and Southern Indiana, with greater security features and more capabilities, including emailed receipts — rather than a paper printout.

The company said it is responding to consumers increasingly doing their banking electronically: Nearly six in 10 customers do banking without tellers. And deposit transactions via ATMs and mobile channels now account for 52 percent of the total — compared with 40 percent a year ago.

PNC said in a press release that the upgrades are expected to be completed in mid-September. The company declined to tell IL how much it is investing in the upgrades, which include enabling the reading of EMV — or “chip” — cards, the counterfeiting of which is more difficult than with swipe-only cards.

“The experience in Europe, which adopted this technology in 1998, tells us that fraud targeted at the ATM is reduced as it is much more difficult for criminals to use the data they collect to be used to clone cards for use in card-present fraud,” said Larry Ponemon, head of the Ponemon Institute, which conducts data protection research.

That upgrade will especially protect holders of MasterCard, the fraud liability of which will shift to the ATM owner on Oct. 1, PNC said.

The bank said the ATMs also will feature a better screen that is easier to read. —Boris Ladwig