The Closing Bell: Public hearing dates set on food truck amendment; Atria and Related Cos. in joint venture; Pizza Week is coming; and more

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.

Committee sets dates for public hearings on food truck, vendor amendment

Robert Frommer, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, spoke about the food truck lawsuit in June 2017. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

Angered food truck operators, along with other members of the public, will get the chance in the coming month to voice their opinions on a proposed amendment to existing city ordinances related to how food trucks and other vendors operate.

Insider previously reported that the amendment was controversial among food truck owners, who say it violates a consent decree the city agreed to earlier this year following a lawsuit by limiting where they can park.

Louisville Metro Council’s Public Works, Facilities, Transportation and Accessibility Committee will host public hearings on the proposed ordinance changes at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, and Tuesday, Nov. 13. The October hearing will be open to “all businesses that are currently regulated as vendors,” and each person will get three minutes to speak.

Anyone else who’d like to comment is asked to attend the November meeting, and those who cannot make either hearing have until Friday, Nov. 16, to submit their comments for the record online.

“There has to be a starting point, and I want to emphasize, this is the starting point. … we are not in a rush, and there are no deadlines in place,” said Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, D-4.

Sexton Smith sponsored the ordinance amendments along with councilmen Brandon Coan, D-8, Pat Mulvihill, D-10, and Scott Reed, R-16. —Caitlin Bowling

Atria forms $3 billion senior living joint venture

Louisville-based Atria Senior Living said it would join forces with a New York City-based real estate firm Related Companies on a $3 billion venture to develop senior housing in major U.S. metro areas.

In the next five years, Related and Atria plan to build luxurious senior living “communities” in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C., that will feature restaurants, gyms, pools and medical facilities, the companies said in a news release.

The companies said they will “deliver a unique and unrivaled experience” based on consulation with “leading architects, designers, gerontologists, nutritionists and wellness experts.”

Louisville is not on the list of potential build sites.

“In terms of senior living communities, … Louisville is currently overbuilt,” Atria spokeswoman Elizabeth George told Insider via email.

The companies said their venture is a response to people living longer and healthier.

“Over the next decade, the 75-plus age group will become an even larger segment of our society, and seniors’ share of our population will likely grow to the highest level ever,” the companies said. “Despite this trend, there continues to be a severe shortage of high-quality urban senior housing options throughout the country.”

Atria CEO John Moore said in the release that the venture “will give seniors an opportunity to live an enhanced, sophisticated and supported life.”

“Atria Senior Living deeply believes where you live will determine how well you live and we
couldn’t be more excited to have a partner who shares our commitment to create the most
thoughtful and enriching environment imaginable for seniors,” he said.

Related, privately owned, has more than $50 billion in assets. Atria operates more than 225 senior living locations and employs more than 16,000. —Boris Ladwig

UnitedHealth earnings boost health care stocks

Many health insurance stocks got a boost this week when UnitedHealth Group posted a solid earnings report based in part on good results in its Medicare business.

UnitedHealth raised its profit outlook for 2018 and said that the number of Medicare Advantage patients it served rose by 2.6 percent, to 4.9 million.

The company’s shares this week had risen 2.3 percent through early afternoon Thursday, besting the S&P 500 index by a factor of more than four. Shares of Cigna were up 1.6 percent, and Louisville-based Humana saw its stock price rise 3.7 percent. Only shares of Aetna fared worse than the index. Humana will post earnings Nov. 7. —Boris Ladwig

Pope blesses CHI-Dignity merger

Pope Francis

Habemus merger?

The planned merger between nonprofit health systems Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health has received approval from the highest of authorities: the Vatican.

According to Modern Healthcare, the Vatican “has given the ecclesiastical green light” to the proposed union of Denver-based CHI and San Francisco-based Dignity. CHI is the parent of KentuckyOne Health, which includes Louisville-based facilities such as Jewish Hospital.

Modern Healthcare said the merger “was dependent on Vatican approval, which was uncertain” as it “received an unfavorable more analysis last summer from John Haas, president of the national Catholic Bioethics Center.”

The proposed $29 billion “alignment” still requires approval from less significant forces, including state governments of California and Colorado.

The systems said in a news release this week that the merger “is proceeding on schedule, with the close anticipated by year’s end.” —Boris Ladwig

First-ever Louisville Pizza Week happening this November

Courtesy of CityBeat

The burger isn’t the only dish that will get a little love this year, with its own week. CityBeat, the same group behind Louisville Burger Week, is launching Louisville Pizza Week, Nov. 12-18.

The seven-day celebration of cheese, carbohydrates and marinara sauce currently features 10 participating restaurants, though more may be added in the future. The announced participants are BoomBozz Craft Pizza & Taphouse (all locations), Bubba’s 33, Danny Mac’s Pizza, DiOrio’s Pizza and Pub, Griff’s, Mellow Mushroom, Parlour, Pizza Bar, Sarino and Sullivan’s Tap House.

Each will offer a 10-inch or larger pizza for $8, as well as Braxton Brewing Co. beer specials. Those who collect three or more stamps on their “pizza passport” will be entered to win $250 in gift cards. —Caitlin Bowling

Peerless releases single-barrel Dimensions, Michter’s releases 20 Year Bourbon

We have an angel’s share of news from two Louisville distilleries.

First up, Peerless Distilling Co.’s two-year-old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey did so well when it was released last year — it was named No. 15 best whiskey in the world by Whisky Advocate — that Head Distiller Caleb Kilburn decided to offer up a new option for liquor stores and bars in the form of Peerless Dimensions.

Kilburn went through the warehouse and selected 15 single barrels that showcased complex, unique flavors, and he’s offering them by the case for retail outlets only. Why only liquor stores and bars? Because it’s part of the distillery’s Single Barrel program and gives retailers an opportunity to buy a single barrel by the case as opposed to committing to the entire barrel.

So keep your eyes peeled for these 15 Dimensions releases, which are named after various flavors like Brunch, Cherries Jubilee, Cinnamon Crumble, Cocoa Honey, Mixed Berry Cobbler and S’more. With names like that, Peerless has piqued our interest.

Next, after a hiatus of two years, Michter’s is releasing its highly sought after Michter’s 20 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon this month.

The aged juice comes from stocks the company purchased years ago, explained Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco in a news release, and special attention is paid to barrels as they age over 17 years.

The 20 Year was deemed ready to be released by Master Distiller Pam Heilmann and Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson.

“One of the most exciting aspects of my job is when I sample older barrels,” said Wilson in the release. “These barrels were really special, and we are thrilled to share this year’s 20 Year Bourbon release with our consumers.”

Your best bet is to pay for a taste if you see the bottle at a bar or tasting room, because your chances of finding one on a liquor store shelf are quite slim. Also, if you do, it’ll set you back $700.

We had the chance to sample a previous 20 Year release in September, and we can’t quite summon the accurate descriptors to truly convey what this liquid gold tastes like. Words like velvety, rich caramel and mouthquake don’t seem to do it justice. —Sara Havens

In Brief

UofL is looking to raise some L, and by L, it means donations. The school’s day of giving begins at 6:02 p.m. on Oct. 23, running for 1,798 minutes in honor of its founding year.

The ADK Group, based in Boston, has acquired Blackstone Media Network, the Louisville-based digital marketing agency, according to a release. Terms were not disclosed. Blackstone said the merger coincided with its rebranding to Blackstone Digital and that the team would continue to work from 607 West Main St.

Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education announced the three finalists for its president spot: Robert Donley, Emily House and Aaron Thompson. Former CPE President Bob King recently left the role for a spot in the federal education department.