Photo courtesy, Campisano Capital.

NuLu is known for its art galleries, specialty shops, and upscale restaurants. It’s about to get a whole lot cooler.

Earlier this month Venture Connectors held their first virtual meeting featuring Nick Campisano, founder of Campisano Capital, and Stacy Griggs, CEO of El Toro to talk about Gateway to NuLu.

Campisano currently resides in New York but he is a native of Louisville. He plans on bringing the fast-paced environment of the Big Apple to the heart of our city with Gateway to NuLu. His current projects also include Derby City Hotel, the James on Frankfort, and the Residence Inn at Old Henry, all in NuLu.

A community has to have three main components: People have to be able to live, work, and play. There’s plenty of play in NuLu with the abundance of bars and restaurants, apartments and hotels. But if you have fifteen employees, then you likely have no place to put them. So that’s where Gateway comes in. “I think that NuLu has a substantial amount of momentum to become an entrepreneurial hub for Louisville,” Campisano said.

Gateway to NuLu currently has two other anchor tenants: EdjAnalytics and Lodgic, without which the building’s expansion from 56,000 square feet to 72,000 square feet would have been impossible. The Gateway building was originally the Albert Hess Furniture store from the early 1900’s, “so the building is still authentically Louisville,” Campisano assures. Some of the original hardwood floors have even remained.

But is this much office space necessary in a post-COVID-19 world? Both Campisano and Griggs seem to be in agreement that people will get tired of working from home. And people will want to come back to work when their office building has a focus on employees. Yes, there’s going to be ping pong tables, a bourbon lounge, an outdoor patio area, and even a barber shop. And that’s not all. There’s going to be a daycare building to meet the needs of modern working parents, as well as two restaurants, which will provide healthy options.

There is also El Toro accelerator, which allows for smaller businesses to rent available space with a one-year lease, instead of being locked into a typical five-year commitment. Campisano foresees that office space will be just as essential as it was before COVID-19. “At the end of the day,” he says, “culture is what drives the most successful companies, and you can’t get that remotely.”

El Toro is planning to move in on July 15th if the project is ready, or whenever pandemic restrictions are lifted.