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.
Affordable housing developer plans apartments in Phoenix Hill
Local development company LDG Development is hoping to make its first foray into the urban core with a proposed project on East Gray Street.
Michael Gross, LDG’s development manager, said the company has wanted to build affordable housing closer to downtown — many of its projects are located in the suburbs — but the asking price for properties is often too high.
However, the company has apparently found a deal at 709 E. Gray St., the home of Multi-Metals, a manufacturer that produces cemented carbide.
According to documents filed with Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services, the existing building would be torn down, and LDG would construct a seven-story, 231-unit apartment complex and 15 townhouses. The apartments would range from one to three bedrooms.
The plans also call for a parking garage at the center of the development encased by the apartments.
“We believe it is going to be a great addition to the neighborhood,” Gross said, adding that the block would no longer house a monolithic building. “I think it is going to go a long way toward bringing that neighborhood back to having a sense of place.”
There is no timeline for development, and the financing is not in place. Rental rates also have not been set.
“We have not set out a financing structure yet. Right now, we are concentrating on the building’s design and making sure we come up with a plan that not only works for the neighborhood but works for the population we are trying to serve,” Gross said.
One possible source of funding would be the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which doles out funds to help support the development of workforce and affordable housing. The fund gave LDG $1.74 million previously to construct 158 new affordable housing units near Jefferson Mall.
Gross noted that while the company believes the development is a good fit, it’s not guaranteed to move forward. LDG pulled its plans for affordable housing off Newburg Road following concerns from neighbors, and its plans for a development in Prospect were voted down last year by Louisville Metro Council. Federal authorities are investigating whether the council vote violated the Fair Housing Act. —Caitlin Bowling
Escape, F-series fuel Ford’s June sales
Higher demand for trucks and SUVs offset declining interest in cars this June, but overall sales this year remain down.
Ford’s June sales improved 1.2 percent from a year ago. For the first half of the year, however, the automaker’s sales dipped 1.8 percent.
Demand for the Escape, which is made exclusively in Louisville, rose 6.4 percent in June, to 28,901 vehicles, but is down 7.9 percent for the year so far.
Ford said that sales of the F-series truck, which includes the Louisville-made Super Duty, are “on a record-setting pace.” The automaker has sold 451,138 F-series trucks in the first six months of the year, up 4.9 percent from the same period last year, and up 4.1 percent over the first half of 2004, when it sold a record 939,511 trucks for the full year.
While the company does not report sales data for the Super Duty, Ford’s U.S. sales analyst Erich Merkle told Insider via email that the vehicle’s transaction price averaged $57,300 in June, up nearly $2,200 compared to a year earlier.
Merkle said the higher average price is a result of strong demand for high-end versions of the truck, including Lariat, Platinum, King Ranch and Limited, which have accounted for about half Super Duty retail sales this year.
The recently revamped Lincoln Navigator, also made in Louisville, continues to see high demand from customers: Ford sold 1,650 Navigators in June, up 68.4 percent from a year earlier. During the first half of the year, Navigator sales are up 82.4 percent.
Overall SUV sales in June increased 8.1 percent from a year earlier, and truck sales rose 3.2 percent. Car sales fell 14 percent. For the year, SUV demand is down 0.7 percent, while truck demand is up 4.1 percent. Car sales have fallen 13.9 percent in that time. —Boris Ladwig
Homearama heads to Catalpa Farms
Conservation subdivision Catalpa Farms will open the doors to seven new custom-built houses for Homearama 2018.
The subdivision includes more than 200 acres of land with access trails, lakes and community gardens.
The homes range from 2,666 square feet to 4,337 square feet and include craftsman, farmhouse and European styles. The builders of the seven homes are Infinity Homes and Development, Jagoe Homes, Mason Construction, P.L. Lyons Architectural Builders, Signature Crafted Homes and Welch Builders.
Homearama will be held July 14-29 at Catalpa Farms, located at 17814 Shakes Creek Drive in Fisherville, Ky. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery opens in eastern Kentucky
The Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery in Pikeville, Ky., is now open for tours. The 30,000-square-foot facility is part of the Alltech Lexington Brewery & Distilling Co., which makes Kentucky Ale beers and Town Branch Bourbon, among others.
Dueling Barrels was a passion project for Alltech co-founders Deirdre Lyons and the late Pearse Lyons, who, according to the news release, felt the rolling landscape, hardworking people and craftsmanship of eastern Kentucky reminded them of their home in Ireland. They also wanted to help expand tourism into the region.
Deirdre Lyons, director of corporate image and design, and son Mark Lyons, president of Alltech, were at the ceremony to help cut the ribbon.
“Today, my team completes three years of work,” Deirdre Lyons said at the event. “But this is only the beginning of the dream, which we hope leads to increased tourism in eastern Kentucky.”
Fountain on Fourth now open
Boozy ice cream parlor Fountain on Fourth debuted on the Fourth (of July).
The new scoop shop, located at 601 S. Fourth St. on the first floor of Hilton Garden Inn, was crafted by attorney Bob Ehrler. In addition to serving traditional nonalcoholic ice cream flavors, customers 21 and older can add a nip to their ice cream orders.
Suggested pairings include dark chocolate with merlot, salted caramel with bourbon and blackberry buttermilk with brandy. The menu also includes six ice cream cocktails.
Long John Silver’s debuts $1 weekly deals
Louisville-based seafood chain Long John Silver’s has started a new “Catch of the Day” promotion, offering $1 deals all week long.
“With our new lineup, we are able to offer customers something unique and different compared to other value menus out there,” Stephanie Mattingly, vice president of marketing for Long John Silver’s, said in a news release. “From out new crispy fish, chicken and crab cake sliders to our new signature Cinnapups, only for $1, we think our customers will be delighted.”
On Mondays, customers can get crispy fish, chicken or crabcake sliders for $1. On Tuesdays, the restaurant is offering Baja Fish Tacos for $1.
Different types of fried and breaded shrimp are available at that discount on Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday’s offer is $1 crabcakes. Customers can enjoy 10-piece Cinnapups or a deep-fried Twinkie for a dollar on the weekends.
Long John Silver’s also has introduced an all-you-can-eat promotion on Sunday that includes battered fish, chicken tenders, hushpuppies and sides for $7.99. The all-you-can-eat promotion is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for dine-in customers at participating locations, according to the release.
The Gheens Foundation has elected a new trustee, Lori H. Flanery. Flanery is president and chief executive for the affordable housing and neighborhood development nonprofit New Directions Housing Corp.
Brown-Forman Corp. and Humana were named two of the best employers for veterans by Military Times. Humana ranked 50th, while Brown-Forman ranked 95th out of 100 companies.
The newly opened Lux Row Distillers in Bardstown, Ky., became the 13th distillery to join the Kentucky Bourbon Trail on Monday. The addition solidifies Nelson County’s “Bourbon Capital of the World” mantra as the county now has six distilleries on the trail.