These are business tips Insider Louisville staff and contributors have collected during the past few days, a few of which are NOT double-verified like Insider Louisville’s daily reporting. Though we’ve talked to multiple sources to make certain of the initial details.
As we always say, this is scoopage from insider sources with direct knowledge of events.
• Our big scoop this week is that real estate sources are telling us the University of Louisville is in talks to buy the Cardinal Club in Simpsonville. We thought U of L already owned the golf course/country club. Turns out it doesn’t.
That said, the Cardinal Club – as the name suggests – was built for alums to have their own course and party place. But the facility is owned by a group of investors led by Louisville hotel and restaurant developer Tom Musselman, who played golf for the U of L golf team back in the day. The Musselman investor group bought the course in 2003 from Orlando, Fla.-based Arnold Palmer Golf Management – back when golf was in the midst of a huge upswing, so to speak.
But our sources say there are complications related to participation somewhere along the line by Icon Properties, where managing partner Bill Hysinger and his investors are embroiled in multiple law suits including one over a large parcel next to U of L’s Belknap Campus.
We also hear many, many entitites have been approached to run the struggling club in part because membership has plummeted as country clubs have fallen out of fashion. Also, the number of people who play golf is declining across the United States. A number of national publications reported earlier this year the number of golfers in the U.S. has fallen by 13 percent since 2007, quoting National Golf Foundation statistics.
Our sources say U of L officials want better facilities for their golf team, and if the university can purchase the property for a huge discount, would invest in adding infrastructure and updates.
One last point: What if this is the first step in a move away from being an academic school toward finally realizing U of L full potential as an all-sports university? No more wasting students’ time offering those same classes every other school offers in science, economics, math, medicine and engineering. Now, students will choose from degrees in coaching, dunking, dribbling, end-zone dancing, grounds keeping, putting and sports marketing. It’s just so obvious this is the direction Dr. Ramsey, et al should be headed. Give that man another million-dollar bonus!
• Another big scoop this week: After Courier-Journal publisher Wesley B. Jackson announced a digital paywall, we got the first look at the CJ news reorganization. Coincidence? We think not.
The “C-J information center (re-organized)” – used to be the “news room” – flow chart shows Jean Porter as managing editor, with all the editors and beat reporters answering to her. What’s really instructive is that the C-J digital content team is split off from the rest of editorial, answering only to our old friend John Mura, who’s multi-media manager. The org chart shows all the lucky employees left after the recent purges. And a LOT of familiar names are gone. The document also indicates former business editor Dan Blake has left. Which was never announced.
Though Gannett execs in McLean, Va. make certain very little sun shines inside the Borg. Another shocker is how few people are left in the newsroom after three or four rounds of staff cuts stretching back to 2008. Counting the nine slots in the digital team, the entire newsroom is down to 44 positions, 41 of which appear to be filled. This in a newsroom that once had more than 100 reporters, editors and assistants.
Now, as we always say, life is about numbers, so here are some stunners:
Back in 2007, CJ circulation averaged about 218,796 for the daily paper, and 266,594 for Sunday, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the non-profit industry org that tracks circ. As of May 1, 2012, the unaudited circulation for the Sunday CJ is 227,848, which isn’t that big a drop, 18 percent. But circulation for the Monday paper now is 130,098. The best-selling weekday is now Friday, with a total circulation of 148,418. In a Kentucky region with more than 2 million people.
Finally, we know what you’re thinking … where is the snarky post about all the blowback the CJ got after its paywall announcement this week? All in good time.
• When the daily newspaper business turns into the daily news release business, here’s what you miss … the business crowd at Derby was talking about a Louisville company going global with new oil and gas technologies. CRS Reprocessing Services, based in Louisville, builds waste retrieval and recycling facilities around the world for a number of industries including energy companies. The company has operations in the Philipines and South Korea.
Late last year, CRS opened a slurry reprocessing services at Dongying City, Shandong Province, China, according to its website.
The national media has done an excellent job of covering the national energy boom. As President Obama will point out over and over again during the campaign, the U.S. now is nearly energy independent, largely because of huge oil shale finds in North Dakota and across the east, especially Pennsylvania. New fracking technology makes it possible now to reach oil. Setting aside the controversies around it, this technology is being adopted around the world. Our sources say CRS is important because they’re growing as the use of fracking expands around the United States and Canada … a company to watch in an industry a lot more promising than extended care/senior care.
• Construction work at the new Urban Outfitters store at Bardstown Road and Patterson Avenue is running ahead of schedule, and major exterior work is on pace to be finished by the end of this week, said contractors on the site. Cabinetry has been delivered and is ready to go into place, with the store opening perhaps by the end of the month. We tried to get plans and renderings from metro government, but it turns out the public isn’t allowed to see public documents, which is increasingly the story in this town from Louisville Metro Government to the Kentucky State Fair Board.
• Very quietly, Sunergos Coffee has expanded. They have two locations, with a third ready to open in a few weeks on Fifth Street, just north of Muhammad Ali. We do love the Woodlawn location at 306 Woodlawn, in a hugely under-appreciated section of Louisville between Iroquois Park and U of L.