Monday Business Briefing: Zone change sought for Germantown lofts, So. Ind. regional improvement plan still alive, Ky. bourbon wins big, and more

Welcome to the Sept. 28 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Bradford Mills Lofts project forging ahead

A rendering of Bradford Mills Lofts | Rendering by Work Architecture + Design

A rendering of Bradford Mills Lofts | Rendering by Work Architecture + Design

Insider Louisville broke the news in July that Marian Development Group, investor Chad Middendorf and Realtor Ashley Blacketer are planning to build 150 loft-style apartments on the corner of East Oak Street and Reutlinger Avenue in Germantown.

Now the project — called Bradford Mills Lofts — is moving forward, with the parties seeking to rezone the site from multifamily residential to office-residential and commercial.

The zoning change will allow for the construction of a four-story apartment complex, with a 2,500-square-foot restaurant on the first floor. The $20 million complex also will include a full-service gym and a pool with food service.

As part of the rezoning process, the parties behind Bradford Mill Lofts must hold a community meeting. Plans for the apartment will be presented, and nearby residents will have the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12, in the cafeteria of St. Therese Catholic Church, 1010 Schiller Ave. —Caitlin Bowling

Red Hog getting by with a little help from METCO

Red Hog will open on the corner of Frankfort and Franck avenues. | Photo by Sarah Kelley

Red Hog will open on the corner of Frankfort and Franck avenues. | Photo by Sarah Kelley

Kit Garrett and Bob Hancock have received a financial boost from the city to help build Red Hog, a butcher shop and cafe under construction at the corner of Frankfort and Franck avenues.

Louisville Metropolitan Business Development Corp. awarded Red Hog a $200,000 business loan, a $50,000 façade loan and a $15,000 accessibility loan.

The cafe will serve deli sandwiches, while the butcher shop will serve customers looking for meats, cheeses and other groceries. Red Hog has a full liquor license as well.

Red Hog plans to employ 12 full-time workers and six part-time.

There is no set open date. After receiving three waivers and a variance for the project, Garrett and Hancock are waiting to secure a construction permit before renovating the building, a former gas station.

The entire project is estimated to cost $1.6 million. —Caitlin Bowling

502 to the 503: GLI taking Louisville leaders to Portland

Every year, Greater Louisville Inc. leads a trip aimed at exploring another city’s “best practices” with Louisville leaders. This year, the GLIDE trip is to Portland — the one on the West Coast, not the one in west Louisville.

The trip is Oct. 18 – 20 and will set participating travelers back $2,995. That includes charter flight, group meals (but not dinner Monday night), hotel, transportation, and tours. To put that in perspective, you’re paying around $50 an hour for your trip to Portland.

Marketing materials for the event describe Portland as “a thriving bi-state, regional economy. Paradise for foodies, hipsters, entrepreneurs & happy hour enthusiasts. Destination of choice for the young, talented & well-educated.”

The agenda includes:

  • Welcome to Portland by CEO of Portland Business Alliance
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurialism panel featuring the CEO of Wildfang, CEO of Revant Optics, and president of Salt and Straw
  • Talent Matters – Why Portland is a Hotbed for Talent by executive director of the Portland Development Commission
  • Building Bi-State, Regional Cooperation for Development discussion with CEO of Greater Portland Inc. and president of CREDC
  • 21 & Over Please: The Portland Beverage Experience by founder of Big Bottom Whiskey and president of the Oregon Distilling Association, and founder of Bull Run Distillery

Too bad it doesn’t include live sketch comedy by Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen. —Melissa Chipman

Shelved Southern Indiana regional development plan may see light of day

A regional improvement plan for five Southern Indiana counties may not be dead as previously reported, according to a chamber of commerce source.

First, the background: One Southern Indiana, the chamber for Clark and Floyd counties, spearheaded the creation of a regional development plan as part of a statewide competition called the Regional Cities Initiative.

The state asked counties in eight regions to come together to craft plans and compete for $84 million in state funding to make those plans a reality.

Southern Indiana’s plan included repurposing the former Colgate factory, expanding the Ohio River Greenway project, and investing in the New Albany façade grant program and the development of the River Ridge Commerce Center, among other ideas.

The counties involved had to agree to create a Regional Development Authority that would oversee the plan’s implementation. The board would be made up of government-appointed members.

In the end, only two of the five Southern Indiana counties — Clark and Scott — agreed. The News and Tribune detailed why some were against it.

With only two counties participating, One Southern Indiana leaders decided not to submit a plan to the state because they felt it would not be competitive enough.

With that decision, the regional improvement plan seemed dead in the water. But Suzanne Ruark, director of marketing and communications for One Southern Indiana, tells Insider Louisville that the chamber is talking to stakeholders and supporters of the plan to see how portions of it could be implemented without state funding.

Chamber leaders spoke to investors at a private luncheon about that possibility last Wednesday, Ruark said, and the response was positive.

Although there is no firm action plan yet, it seems the development of a regional improvement plan might not have been all for naught. —Caitlin Bowling

Switcher Studio presents at AOL’s TechCrunch Disrupt showcase

Yes, AOL is still a thing… and TechCrunch is one of the largest online technology blogs that profiles startups, Internet products and new technologies. Disrupt is a showcase featuring some of the most innovative technology and companies in the startup scene. So it’s quite the boon for Switcher Studio to have been invited.

Switcher Studio is one of 350 early-stage companies selected to participate. This week, Switcher celebrates its one-year anniversary of being added to the App Store.

The app allows you to “be your own TV station.” It’s a video app that “lets you sync up to four iPhones and iPads to record and stream live video to services like YouTube and Ustream. Insert photos and graphic overlays, manage multi-view effects, and more.”

Right now the service is half-price: It’s just $25 a month or $299 for a year.

Likely you’ve seen CEO Nick Mattingly around town. Switcher Studio does AV for events for the Louisville Digital Association and Venture Connectors. —Melissa Chipman

Kentucky bourbon distilleries nab Whisky Magazine awards 

The Evan Williams Experience was awarded "Visitors Attraction of the Year" by Whisky Magazine.

The Evan Williams Experience was awarded “Visitors Attraction of the Year” by Whisky Magazine.

Just as the Kentucky Bourbon Festival was winding down last week, Whisky Magazine released its annual “Icons of Whisky — America” awards, and several Kentucky brands got the nod.

Heaven Hill Brands, the nation’s largest, independent family-owned and operated liquor company, was awarded the Distiller of the Year title as well as Visitors Attraction of the Year for its Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Louisville. Heaven Hill’s Whiskey Ambassador, Bernie Lubbers, also was named American Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year.

Woodford Reserve (Brown-Forman) employees Todd Roe and Dee Ford also nabbed some awards: Roe for Distillery Manager of the Year and Ford for Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year.

Other worthy mentions include Jim Beam (Beam Suntory) as Brand Innovator of the Year; Buffalo Trace‘s Harlen Wheatley as Master Distiller of the Year; and Liquor Barn as Retailer of the Year.

Cheers to all the winners! How about we celebrate with some fine Kentucky bourbon. —Sara Havens

Louisville named top ‘World Festival & Event City’ at international awards

KDF-logoLouisville is most definitely a get-out-and-do-things kind of town, playing host to more than 100 festivals and events a year — from the Derby on down to local art fairs that attract national attention. It’s a feat we were just honored for by the International Festivals & Events Association, who named us the top “World Festival & Events City” at its 60th annual Hall of Fame Awards in Tucson, Ariz.

“The IFEA is pleased to recognize and highlight those cities and markets who have worked to provide an environment conducive to successful festivals and events,” said IFEA president Steven Wood Schmader. “Through this award, the IFEA hopes to create a continuing dialogue between events and cities around the world, at a time when each needs to be supporting the other more than ever.”

Other cities that received the award include Philadelphia; Sydney, Australia; and Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Also spotlighted at the event was the Kentucky Derby Festival, which won the Gold Grand Pinnacle in its category of best overall festival program in the world as well as 38 other awards in various categories from media relations to merchandise. —Sara Havens

Execuity settles into Main Street, touts new clients, launches website

Execuity showed off their new offices on Thursday.

Execuity showed off their new offices on Thursday.

The unconventional marketing agency Execuity is so dedicated to clients, their company mantra is to “Seek Total World Domination” for every business and individual with whom they work. Late last week, they held an open house to show off their new offices facing Whiskey Row, at 110 W. Main St., and the mayor even gave the company an official proclamation for Execuity Day.

Since January, Execuity, founded by Dayna Neumann and Linda Ruffenach, has worked with three of the 12 companies recently named to GLI’s Hot Dozen, which recognizes the city’s most innovative new businesses. It’s exactly the type of clients they’re looking to represent.

“We are an unconventional marketing agency that believes in a pay-it-forward mentality,” said Ruffenach. “We are committed to helping clients create more high-paying and high-skill jobs to strengthen our community.”

The marketing agency also launched a new website on Friday. —Sara Havens

Member of Melillo family opening new Italian restaurant

Silvio's is located on Fairfax Avenue in St. Matthews. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

Silvio’s is located on Fairfax Avenue in St. Matthews. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

As one Facebook commenter said, “Nobody cooks Italian like the Melillo family.”

However, Louisville hasn’t had the taste of Melillo’s food since 2008 when Michele Melillo, owner of Melillo’s in NuLu, closed her restaurant — a casualty of the recession, taxes and high food costs, she said at the time.

While the city has gone seven years without a Melillo’s restaurant, it won’t have to live like that much longer. Bill Silvio Melillo, Michele’s brother, is opening an Italian restaurant called Silvio’s at 104 Fairfax Ave., right next Super Chefs.

After eight years in sales, “I’m living my dream,” Bill Melillo tells Insider Louisville. “People embrace our style of cooking.”

Although Michele won’t be involved in the day to day, she will provide the restaurant with Italian cream cakes for dessert. And some of her dishes made it onto the menu, including a chicken salad recipe and rice bowls.

Silvio’s menu also will feature new items such as steak, salmon and burgers, Melillo said. The average dinner ticket will be $25 per person. The restaurant will offer valet parking for $5 Thursday through Saturday.

The restaurant has 40 seats in the dining room and an additional 30 to 35 seats in a lounge area. Melillo suggested making reservations if you want a dining room seat.

The restaurant will employ 15 to 20 workers.

Melillo hopes to open early next week, he said. On Friday, he was waiting for his liquor license to come through and putting the finishing touches on the space.

Silvio’s will serve salad and pastas family-style on Sundays, Melillo said. “This is what we did growing up as kids.”

When ask if he had anything else to say, Melillo simply stated: “Follow us on Facebook.” —Caitlin Bowling

A sneak peek at IL’s new downtown digs

We moved out of our cozy NuLu confines a couple weeks back and into a larger space at the historic First Trust Centre on the corner of Fifth and Market. The 125-year-old building is located in the heart of the downtown business district and next to Metro Hall — a prime spot for bringing you the news.

Soon we’ll share details about an IL HQ open house. In the meantime, here’s a glimpse…