Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.
Tech company, coffee roastery moving into historic NuLu firehouse
The real estate market in NuLu is still hot, with a 260-unit apartment and condominium building under construction and the sale of the 2.72-acre Service Welding & Machine Co. property.
Now, Kyle Noltemeyer and Norman Noltemeyer — co-owners of Louisville-based real estate company Noltemeyer Capital — are getting in on the action. On Wednesday, the son and father purchased the partially renovated historic firehouse at 802 E. Main St., a one-story building at 800 E. Main St., and a two-story building behind the firehouse at 113 S. Shelby St. for $1.9 million.
Kyle Noltemeyer told Insider Louisville that he grew interested in the property while looking for a new cafe and roastery space for Quills Coffee, which he also has an ownership stake in.
“Honestly, it was just perfect for what we wanted to do,” he said. “I thought it would be amazing to own a firehouse, and the office spaces upstairs were so well built out that I felt confident I could lease those. It felt like an easy fit.”
Noltemeyer was right. His longtime friend Joe Dover is director of business management at Louisville technology firm Composable Systems, which makes software and applications for companies such as Microsoft, Kroger, Texas Roadhouse and Scoppechio. The company just so happened to be looking for a new space at the same time Noltemeyer was negotiating terms on the firehouse property.
“We wanted a more creative, vibrant atmosphere,” Dover said. “We felt the atmosphere there fit us better. Walk out the door in NuLu, and you are right in the middle of the mix. There are growing businesses and progressive people.”
The NuLu location also will help the company be more visible, Dover said. Composable Systems currently is located off New Lagrange Road in a space he said is becoming cramped. The company has roughly 25 employees and adds one new employee nearly every month.
Composable Systems will move into the top two floors of the three-story firehouse next month. Meanwhile, the first floor of the 123-year-old firehouse will be transformed into a coffee shop for Quills, and the building on Shelby Street will become Quills’ new roastery. It currently roasts its coffee in New Albany but is running out of space.
Noltemeyer said Noltemeyer Capital likely will spend $150,000, maybe more, on renovations for Quills, adding a coffee bar and management offices, exposing the original brick work and other details. Quills will move in this fall.
The new space will allow Quills to add a light food menu and possibly a few beer taps. It also will allow Quills to host roastery tours and tasting classes.
“They can do a bourbon tour, (then) they can do a coffee roasting viewing,” Noltemeyer said.
The space also will feature a Specialty Coffee Association of America-certified training laboratory where Quills will train its employees, local chefs and restaurateurs and other coffee companies’ employees. The trade organization sets the international standard for coffee making, Quills founder Nathan Quillo explained.
The closest certified facilities to Louisville are in Virginia and South Carolina, meaning trainees could be drawn to the facility from hundreds of miles away, Quillo said.
Friendship Health & Rehab plans $100 million expansion
A nursing and rehabilitation facility in Oldham County plans to spend up to $100 million to add senior living apartments and an assisted living and dementia care center. The expansion would boost employment to 300, up from the current 120.
The owners of Friendship Health & Rehab plan to add the assisted living and dementia care center with up to 64 beds in a $12 million Phase 1, which is expected to be completed by winter of 2017.
“We aim to provide a home-like care environment that doesn’t feel like an institution,” CEO Robert Young said in a press release.
Plans for Phase II, expected to begin in 2018, include the construction of at least 150 senior living apartments and 55 patio homes.
Monthly rental for apartments, which will range from 750 to 1,800 square feet, will run from $2,500 to $4,000 depending on amenities, which include up to three meals a day, pool access, garage and/or storage areas. The purchase price will range from $150,000 to $200,000 with a maintenance fee of $600 per month, again depending on amenities.
Owners also plan to add a community walking trail, sports fields and a rehab pool to focus on “intergenerational activities,” according to the release.
The current facility, at 7400 Friendship Drive in Pewee Valley, has 128 beds and accepts private, Medicaid and Medicare patients. Once the expansion is completed, the facility will be able to accommodate up to 550 seniors. —Boris Ladwig
Work started on Middletown sports complex expansion
The final puzzle pieces are coming together to finish the build-out of a 14-acre private sporting facility in Middletown.
King Louie’s Sports Complex has filed plans with Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government to expand its existing indoor sports facility and construct a restaurant, a natatorium, an ice cream shop, sand volleyball courts and an outdoor turf field. The total project cost is north of $5 million.
King Louie’s opened a 24,000-square-foot indoor sports arena at 598 N. English Station Road in October 2015. Now, the company is adding another 22,000 square feet to the building.
The first floor of the addition will house sports training and development company Edge Sports Performance, and the second floor will be a multi-purpose turf field, according to Mike Havill, vice president of operations and a partner in the business. The business also is signing a contract with physical therapy company ProRehab, which will operate a satellite office in King Louie’s arena.
The outdoor field will be regulation and accommodate football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse. Havill said they hope to seat up to 1,000 people at the field. Both the addition and outdoor field will open by October.
In July, King Louie’s will open three sand volleyball courts with amphitheater seating as well as a “player’s pavilion” lounge for athletes, Havill said.
Also in the works is an upscale sports bar and a natatorium, or indoor swimming facility, with an attached ice cream parlor. Havill said King Louie’s is leasing the property for the natatorium and ice cream shop to a third party that will construct and manage it, so he could not say when it would open.
However, the restaurant is 12 to 18 months away. Havill and business partner Matt Rumpke are still interviewing potential operating partners to manage the restaurant. Once complete, King Louie’s will have maxed out all 14 acres, Havill said. —Caitlin Bowling
New Blak launches mobile boutique
Our friends over at the New Blak have launched a new mobile boutique. The eco-friendly clothing business has added a lot more than just “little blak dresses” to their line, and now the shop is taking those clothes on the road. You can catch them this weekend at the Oxmoor Mall, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
In fact, all of the local mobile retail trucks will be there for this weekend’s event. Think of it as a food truck rally, but with clothes.
The New Blak mobile, called “Blak Betty,” also will be at the next Flea Off Market, which is Fourth of July weekend.
There have been some pretty big changes at the New Blak — owner/founder/designer Amanda Dare has bought out her partners. While the company started out online, it did work with some brick and mortars, most recently on Frankfort Avenue. But Dare is sticking to online and mobile for now.
We’ll have the whole scoop from Dare next week.
(Pssst. If you show the New Blak’s “Insider Local Life” article at the boutique, you’ll get 10 percent off.) —Melissa Chipman
KFC taps crispy actor George Hamilton as the next Col. Sanders
If you’re trying to sell chicken that’s billed as “extra crispy” and double breaded, why not tap someone known for soaking up the sun’s rays to dangerous extremes? We’re guessing Tan Mom was unavailable, so veteran actor George Hamilton will hawk KFC‘s Extra Crispy Chicken as Col. Sanders beginning Sunday, June 26.
The commercials will tout KFC’s signature $5 and $20 Fill Ups, which let you pick from the menu and fill up a box with your selections. Hamilton steps into the role after stints by Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald and Jim Gaffigan.
“Just like no one person could play the Colonel, no one Colonel can sell both Original Recipe and Extra Crispy fried chicken,” Kevin Hochman, KFC US Chief Marketing Officer, said in a press release. “And no actor was more qualified to play our Extra Crispy Colonel than a very tan George Hamilton.”
Whether you know Hamilton from his early film days (“Where the Boys Are,” “Love at First Bite,” “The Godfather Part III”) or his TV roles (“Dynasty,” “Dancing with the Stars”), he is now known for his signature tan.
“I like to think I know a thing or two about being extra crispy,” said Hamilton. “It didn’t take long for me to get into character as the Extra Crispy Colonel. One could argue that my entire career has been leading up to this role.”
One restaurant moves out, another moving into historic Montrose house
Seymour, Ind., restaurant Rails Craft Brew and Eatery is opening a second location at Montrose in Clarksville in late July.
Rails offers a bit of everything — steaks, chicken, seafood, pasta and salads. It’s not a brewery but offers a variety of craft brews from places including Dogfish Head Brewery, Falls City Brewing Co., Upland Brewing Co., Flat 12 Bierwerks and Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. The average ticket price is $14 to $16.
Rails owner Dave Lawrence said his friend, real estate agent Mike Kopp, knew Sam’s Food & Spirits owner Sam Anderson was looking to leave Montrose, and he connected the two. Sam’s Food & Spirits opened there in 2014 after a fire destroyed its storefront along Payne Koehler Road in late 2013.
A post on Sam’s Facebook simply notes that the restaurant’s Highlander Point location will remain open, and it will honor any Sam’s gift cards. It also notes that those who planned events at Montrose with Sam’s are being contacted, and Rails will hire Sam’s Montrose employees.
Rails is looking to hire an additional 20 to 25 employees on top of that, Lawrence said.
Montrose, also called the John McCulloch House, is on the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures. It was built in 1870.
“It fits in our theme, so to speak. It’s an old building. It’s got character, style and uniqueness,” Lawrence said.
Rails is repainting, re-carpeting and installing a new bar at Montrose. Workers are brightening the space and taking down the blinds on the windows to try to open up the space, which is split into several rooms.
“All the rooms are looking, feeling bigger and more inviting,” Lawrence said.
The restaurant will seat 212 on the first floor, 150 on outdoor patio and another 75 in the second-floor party room. The second floor will serve as overflow or can be rented for business events, private gatherings and wedding rehearsal dinners.
Unlike Sam’s, Rails won’t rent the entire property for weddings and large events, Lawrence said.
Consignment shop plans one-day pop-up store in July
Fabulous Finds closed in 2015 but will come back for one day only this July.
The consignment shop will host a pop-up store starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 23, at the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy, 117 E. Kentucky St., according to a news release. All the proceeds will benefit the school.
“Even though Fabulous Finds closed its doors last fall, we continue to receive donations thanks to the generosity of retail shops, individuals, interior designers and other businesses who just want to help the institute,” said Brad Broecker, chairman of the Heuser Hearing Institute, in the release. The institute runs the school.
Items for sale at the store will include new or gently used home goods such as picture frames, designer pillows, lamps, dishware, books and paintings.
In last week’s The Closing Bell, we reported a new restaurant called The Manhattan Project will open in the former Fabulous Finds space behind Nancy’s Bagel Grounds, 2101 Frankfort Ave. —Caitlin Bowling
Ohio River Bridges Project downtown crossing more than 85 percent complete
Louisville only has to deal with six more months of changing traffic lanes and construction tied to the downtown crossing of the Ohio River Bridges Project.
The downtown crossing portion of the project is more than 85 percent finished and on schedule for completion in December. At that time, all six lanes of the new Abraham Lincoln Bridge and a refurbished John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge will open to traffic.
Construction workers with Louisville-based Walsh Construction are building more than 60 new overpasses and bridges as part of the downtown crossing to help untangle Spaghetti Junction.
The Ohio River Bridges Project released the video above talking about the downtown crossing and how the changes will impact the city.
The new East End bridge, which remains unnamed, also is still on track to be substantially complete and open to traffic at the end of this year.
Until then, drivers can find the latest traffic updates here to see what roads and ramps are closed. —Caitlin Bowling
Tales of the Cocktail’s annual Spirited Awards gives nods in our direction
Tales of the Cocktail is one of the world’s premier cocktail festivals, and it takes place in New Orleans each summer. In 2007, they added the Spirited Awards to recognize the very best bars, bartenders, writers and industry experts. Earlier this month, the top 10 nominees in each category were announced, and our people and places came up several times.
In the Best American Hotel Bar category, Proof on Main at 21c Museum Hotel was a selected finalist, rubbing elbows with the likes of hotel bars in Las Vegas (Vesper Bar at The Cosmopolitan), Los Angeles (The Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt), New York City (The Elephant Bar at The NoMad), Chicago (Sable Kitchen at Hotel Palomar) and others.
And in the Best New Spirits Books category, bourbon expert and author Fred Minnick was nominated for his latest book, “Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker.” He’s up against the likes of Noah Rothbaum (“The Art of American Whisky”), Jeff Colett (“The Year of Drinking Adventurously”), Sarah Bowen (“Divided Spirits”), Chantal Martineau (“How the Gringos Stole Tequila”) and more.
Local bourbon experts Bernie Lubbers and Ewan Morgan were also named in the Best American Brand Ambassador category, Lubbers for Heaven Hill and Morgan for Diageo (Bulleit).
On Monday, June 20, the categories were narrowed to four, and only Minnick made it to the finals. The awards will be announced at the Sheraton in New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail on July 23. —Sara Havens