Monday Business Briefing: J-Town condos planned; what’s in store for the Green Building; St. Francis and Assumption to expand; and more

Welcome to the April 1 Monday Business Briefing, your weekly business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Condo development planned for Jeffersontown

Rendering of the proposed Mill Creek Condos. | Courtesy Mill Creek Condos

Tampa-based 6:14 Development Group is planning an eight-building condominium development in Jeffersontown, according to rezoning applications filed with Metro Louisville Planning.

Mills Creek Condos would be located on a three-acre site at 9710 and 9712 Locust Lane, near Watterson Trail. Three private residences on the lot would be razed to make way for the 32-condo development.

According to application documents, the condos would measure 3,500 to 4,000 square feet. Each condo would have two reserved parking spaces in lower-level garages. Each building would be three stories tall and hold four units apiece.

Developers envision the buildings with fully landscaped courtyard, walkways and neutral space. —Kevin Gibson

Rabbit Hole owner says Green Building won’t necessarily be tied to distillery

Rabbit Hole Distillery owner Kaveh Zamanian, who purchased the Green Building in NuLu in mid-March from Gill and Augusta Holland, said there are no definite plans for the landmark structure, but he believes it won’t be directly tied to his distillery.

Nevertheless, he said, he is already talking to people about potential directions.

Kaveh Zamanian

“We don’t have anything explicit,” he told Insider Louisville. “The hope is to be able to build something to complement what we’ve done here at Rabbit Hole.”

He said the purchase, which officially was executed by his company Green Building LLC for $2.4 million, was essentially made by himself along with a group of friends and family members. There is no timeline on moving forward on a concept, but Zamanian said it likely will involve retail space, adding he also is committed to the arts.

He said he has had conversations with interested parties, that he would consider “multiple partnerships” and that the new direction could be clear “within the next year.”

“Whatever we do, it will be a feather in the cap of the neighborhood,” Zamanian said. “We’ve got our eye on what’s happening in the neighborhood and the needs of the neighborhood. Really, I just want to raise the bar a little bit even more in terms of securing NuLu’s place in the city.” —Kevin Gibson

St. Francis, Assumption embark on expansion projects

St. Francis School is building a new athletic complex, and Assumption High School is expanding a cafeteria.

Rendering of new athletic complex planned for St. Francis School. | Courtesy St. Francis School

St. Francis announced it has acquired two-thirds of an acre on Second St. in the lot between McDonald’s and the Crescent Center in the space that once was Gray’s Bookstore. Plans for the athletic complex include a high school basketball court, a volleyball court, fitness facilities, offices, concessions and space for student gatherings and assemblies, recreation and student wellness programs.

This $6 million center is the final project in the School’s $20-plus million capital campaign, joining a gymnasium on the Goshen Campus; acquiring and renovating 17,000 square feet of the 233 W. Broadway building for a new entrance and student space; and a new lobby and 400-seat theater on the Goshen Campus to be completed this summer.

Meanwhile, Assumption filed an application to expand an existing cafeteria and classroom facility to expand the curriculum and completed lunches in three periods rather than the current five.

The facility will be built to the east, on property acquired on Tyler Lane and gifted to the school by Sisters of Mercy. A house at 2140 Tyler Lane would be removed to make way for the project. Land Development and Design provided the site plan, which calls for a facility with three floors and a courtyard. —Kevin Gibson

Chef Jonathan Searle returns to Proof on Main as executive chef

Jonathan Searle | Courtesy

After opening the Lockbox restaurant at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, Jonathan Searle will return to Proof on Main as executive chef. Searle first worked at Proof in 2011, rising through the ranks to executive sous chef before leaving for Lexington, the city in which he got his start.

“I have loved my time in Lexington. … Louisville and Proof on Main feel like the perfect next step,” Searle said in a news release. “It’s a chance to return to a city with such a rich and vibrant hospitality scene. As a young cook, I cut my teeth at Proof. Having the opportunity to come back to a restaurant I love, in a city full of incredible talent, is such a humbling experience. I’m so grateful to call this kitchen my own.”

Searle will begin his new role in April. He will succeed Michael Wajda, who is moving on to another establishment, details of which have not yet been released. —Sara Havens

Home sales in Kentucky jumped in February

After a decline in late 2018 and January 2019, home sales across Kentucky in February rose more than 6 percent from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The association said in a news release that units sold in the state hit more than 3,300, the highest level since 2016 and the highest for the month of February.

Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist, attributed the jump to “a powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income and higher consumer confidence.”

The report also shows that, nationwide, existing-home sales also surged 11.8 percent ≤which is the largest month-over-month gain since December 2015. —Kevin Gibson

Two Louisville parks announce new playground areas

The Algonquin Park playground. | Courtesy of Metro Louisville

Algonquin and Shelby parks will soon unveil new playground additions.

On Tuesday, Shelby Park will unveil its new PNC Music Garden with a ribbon-cutting; the park won’t open to the public until sometime in April.

The music-themed playground will feature 10 outdoor musical instruments, which essentially are hybrids of playground attractions and instruments, offering children up to about age 5 a hands-on introduction to music in a recreational setting. The instruments will line both sides of a pathway that connects two existing playgrounds.

The addition will complement the free Academy of Music Production Education and Development music program for children, which operates at the Shelby Park Community Center.

The instruments were paid with a $49,949 grant from the PNC Foundation and were designed by Chris Fry of Play Pros.

At Algonquin, a $65,000 investment from Metro Louisville and support from Olmstead Parks Conservancy will add modern equipment to the older children’s playground near the spray park.

The new playground will include climbing structures, a slide and arch swings. New landscaping and benches also recently were installed. A ribbon cutting was held March 28. —Kevin Gibson

GE Appliances signs deal — to detriment of a competitor

GE Profile oven with air fryer | Courtesy of GE Appliances

GE Appliances has announced a partnership with Affiliated Builders Group, which represents 100 builders who construct about 3,500 new homes every year.

The deal means that the builders’ group members are likely to equip their homes with GE Appliances’ brands, from the mass market GE and Profile to the high-end Monogram.

The builders’ group previously had a partnership with a different appliance maker, though GEA wouldn’t say whom. While the builder’s group did not reply to an inquiry from Insider, its website listed among its partners the appliance makers Frigidaire and, ironically, Electrolux, the Swedish appliance maker that tried to buy the GE Appliances unit in 2015 but ran into opposition from antitrust regulators.

GEA said that the partnership with ABG “will not have an immediate impact on production at Appliance Park” — the group members account for less than 1 percent of annual housing starts in the U.S. — but the appliance maker said such deals are an important — and growing — part its business.

“Through our builder channel we serve many types of customers which include builders, property management companies, hotel owners and remodeling distributors,” GEA told Insider via email. “This channel has rapidly grown for GE Appliances during the housing recovery and represents a significant part of our business.” —Boris Ladwig

In Brief

On Friday, officials gathered to break ground on Phase 1 of the Beecher Terrace redevelopment, part of HUD Choice Neighborhoods. The four-story structure will be home to 117 one- and two-bedroom apartments for those 55 years and up and will feature a fitness center, community gathering spaces and is expected to be open in the fall of 2020. Humana said its employees have reached their “Bold Goal” to achieve 20 percent more healthy days, a threshold it also has adopted for some of its communities, including Louisville.