Archive for the Economics Category

Ali Home For Sale

Posted in Development, Economics, Louisville History, Louisville News, Real Estate, Sports with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2012 by othersideoflife


(Picture of Muhammad Ali’s boyhood home from the Courier-Journal.)

The Courier-Journal is reporting that Muhammad Ali’s boyhood home in West Louisville is now for sale:

Two “for sale” signs have popped up in the front yard of the small white house on Grand Avenue where boxing great Muhammad Ali — known in those days as Cassius Clay — grew in western Louisville.

The home, which was recognized as Ali’s boyhood home with a historical marker in May, is described by the plaque as the place “where young Clay’s values were instilled.”

The sale price of the house was not listed on the for sale signs and a message left at the number listed was not returned. The Jefferson County Property Valuation Administration values the property at $23,260.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Sunday that it is too early to know what role the city might have as the house is sold, but he plans to be involved in the process in some way. He even hinted at the possibility that the home could be transformed into more of a tourist attraction.

“I would hope that we would find some reasonable way to make (the house) a part of our history here where people can visit more formally than they do right now,” he said. “The city would be interested in making sure that it falls into the right hands and there’s a partnership there in some way.”

Sounds like a bargain, that despite the home’s historical significance, it needs some work. Here’s hoping that, if it ends up being bought by a private party, the proper renovations will be carried out and, at some point, it could help drive tourism to an otherwise-overlooked part of the city.

UPDATE, 8/28/2012: The Courier-Journal has published an updated story on the Ali Home, with some interesting new details. First, apparently Ali’s family isn’t interested in buying the home:

The 1920 one-story at 3302 Grand Ave. in western Louisville, appraised at $23,260, is in such bad condition that “we probably would not be interested in buying it,” said Lonnie Ali, the wife of the three-time heavyweight boxing champion.

“It would be nice if someone were interested,” she said in an interview Tuesday, adding that she feared that any hint of the family being a potential buyer would drive up the price. “It is going to be a very important piece of real estate for Louisville and as a tourist attraction.”

According to the Ali Center, an anonymous donor is interested, but with no more information to divulge.  Additionally, check out the last sale price of the house, from 1998:

The house, which was last sold in 1998 for $2,500, is owned by a Southern Indiana couple, Steve and Kassandra Stephenson, according the Jefferson County PVA website. Their asking price couldn’t be determined.

New Northern Kentucky Distillery In the Works

Posted in Development, Drink, Economics, Kentucky News with tags , , on August 12, 2012 by othersideoflife

(This post reposted from our sister blog, Tasting Notes.)
(photo of Nth Degree Distilling CEO Mollie Lewis from the Courier-Journal.)

The Courier-Journal is reporting that a new distillery based in Newport, Kentucky will be added to the Bourbon Trail next year when construction is complete:

A bourbon micro-distillery in the works in Newport will become the seventh stop along the state’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail — and the only one in Northern Kentucky.

CEO Mollie Lewis says she hopes that The Nth Degree Distilling attracts about 700 visitors a week for tours when it opens next year. A groundbreaking was held last month.

Lewis told The Kentucky Enquirer that the “N” has more than one meaning — it stands for Northern Kentucky, Newport and “the Nth degree, which means all-out.”

She said the craft distillery will be different from most other bourbon makers in Kentucky in that it will reflect a forward-looking enterprise in an urban market.

Larry Ebersold, a former distiller at Pernod Ricard USA in Lawrenceburg, will be the master distiller.

Nth Degree Distilling CEO Mollie Lewis is an old friend, so it’s exciting to hear about her new endeavor. You can read more about her in this article from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Mammoth Profiled By a Dinosaur

Posted in Art, Development, Economics, Happenings, Louisville News, Media, Music, Real Estate with tags , , on August 6, 2012 by othersideoflife


(photo of Hallie Jones and Aron Conaway from the Courier-Journal.)

Okay, so the snarky headline was too good to pass up. In yesterday’s Courier-Journal, there was an excellent, and expansive, profile of The Mammoth, the behemoth multi-use arts space in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood, run by Aron Conaway and Hallie Jones:

Now, with this three-story, 90,000-square-foot building — where Conaway and Jones live on the first floor — and another attached building with 36,000 square feet, the couple are poised to see their dream become a reality.

They’re looking to convert this space, which they now call The Mammoth, into art studios and artists’ residences, an art installation space and art gallery, an independent media center, band practice spaces, a live music venue, film-viewing space and even community gardens and other green spaces.

The idea is to have enough space for artists to have the privacy to work on their own, but also shared space to work together. It includes outfitting the space with equipment for making art.

The plan includes artists pooling their resources and generating income for the endeavor though sideline businesses and eventually renting space to commercial businesses. The couple envisions a nonprofit entity overseeing the shared art-making spaces.

While we haven’t yet been to The Mammoth, we’re excited about it. Read more here.

Dolls Market Sale Pending — And We’re Back

Posted in Development, Economics, Louisville News, Real Estate with tags , , on July 24, 2012 by stateofthecommonwealth


(Photo of the former Dolls Market swiped from the Courier-Journal.)

According to today’s Courier-Journal, the former Dolls Market on Brownsboro Road will soon have a new owner:

An out-of-town developer has a contract to buy the former Doll’s Market building and parking lot on Brownsboro Road for a retail use, and a closing is expected by the end of the year, real estate agent Paul Grisanti said.

The building could be one store or perhaps three smaller ones, but Grisanti said he could not disclose details because of a confidentiality agreement. Grisanti is selling the property for the owners, the Charles F. Bauer family.

The developer interested in the Doll’s building has 53 “units” in 13 states, and this would be the first store in Kentucky, Grisanti said. “It’s something people in that area will most likely appreciate,” he said.

We figured we’d google “53 stores 13 states retail” to see if there we could find any hints, but the only relevant result was the Wikipedia entry for American Signature, the parent company of Value City. Not that exciting, we know. Perhaps someone out there has a tip they can share with us? Anyway, it will be good for that stretch of Brownsboro Road to have more robust retail again. Now if only they can get a good restaurant back in the old Azalea space…

In other not-really-news news, we’re restarting State of the Commonwealth on a most-likely sporadic basis, so we hope you enjoy it. Work schedules now allow for some time to dedicate to SotC, which we haven’t updated since 2008. We’ve unfortunately missed out on a lot of changes, some positive and some otherwise, around Louisville and Kentucky in the past three years, and we regret that. But hopefully we can jump back into the swing of things! Thanks for reading.

Kaelin’s Restaurant, the Birthplace of the Cheeseburger, Closes… for Remodeling?

Posted in Economics, Food, Louisville History, Louisville News, Obituary on March 1, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

(Kaelin’s, and their famous “Please WAVE” sign, from lie_inourgraves’ photostream on Flickr.)

According to a thread on the Louisville HotBytes forum, Kaelin’s Restaurant — allegedly the birth place of the cheeseburger, opened in 1934 — closed for good last night. We haven’t seen confirmation from any local media just yet, and their web site is still active, but the HotBytes forum is usually a good authority on such matters.

Needless to say, the closing of a great Louisville institution is something we’re not thrilled about. When we find out more details online, we’ll update this post.

UPDATE, 10:45 PM: It appears we may have been misinformed as to the permanence of Kaelin’s closing. Michelle at Consuming Louisville informs us that Kaelin’s is closing for renovations. We can only assume for now that means an updated Kaelin’s.

WHAS 11: Metro Parks Spent $600k Last Year on New Mowers

Posted in Development, Economics, Environment, Kentucky News, Louisville News, Media, Metro Parks, Otter Creek Park, Politics on February 25, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

WHAS 11 aired a whopper of a story last night, that Louisville Metro Parks spent over $600,000 on new mowers last year, just before spending cuts were announced by Mayor Abramson in December. Here’s the full story (you can watch video of the story by following the link above to WHAS 11):

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) – WHAS11 News has learned that as Louisville Mayor Abramson was closing Otter Creek Park to save a half million dollars, the Metro Parks Department was spending more than that on new lawn mowers.

It’s your tax dollars, and critics are saying its misplaced priorities.

But the parks department says the mowers are a great deal for taxpayers for the future.

The parks department says the fancy new lawn mowers are more efficient and were purchased just before the price went way up.

But spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawn mowers in tough budget times has got some folks flabbergasted:

You’ll be seeing these all-in-one Toro lawn mowers on Louisville’s public golf courses this summer. The metro parks department bought eight of these new mowers last fall to replace the old tractor and pull behind blades currently being used.

Those eight faster, easier mowers were purchased last October. The total cost was $507,000. The next month, in November, metro parks purchased nine of these tractor pulled blade mowers which are designed to bushhog and cut high grass. Total cost on those was $96,000. More than $600,000 spent on new mowers just as Mayor Abramson was announcing a huge budget shortfall and millions in spending cuts.

Nowhere in the parks department’s capital budget is there any mention of cash for new mowers. Storch says that’s because the money is coming out of metro government’s depreciation account. Councilman Downard still wonders how the mower purchases will sit with city workers who face four mandatory furlough days without pay.

And yes, it is true, that $600,000 price tag on the new mowers is about $100,000 more than metro government expects to save by closing Otter Creek Park. Downard says that’s one less park to mow with more lawnmowers.

One minor note about this story: Louisville Metro only predicted to save on the order of $180,000 for this fiscal year by closing Otter Creek Park, so the $500,000 figure cited in the story is a bit misleading. Louisville may save $500,000 in the next fiscal year if OCP remains closed, but closing OCP also ended a revenue stream, as well the potential for more. Either way, spending $600,000 during a recession on lawnmowers that, no matter how nice they are, will depreciate is not what we’d call fiscal responsibility.

McConnell to Obama: Don’t Buy American

Posted in Economics, Elections, Kentucky News, Labor, Media, Politics on February 2, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

Since Barack Obama was inaugurated at the end of last month, we Kentuckians have been used to seeing our senior Senator, Mitch McConnell, grab lots of media attention as the Senate Minority Leader. (Nevermind our junior Senator, Jim Bunning, whose actions over the past month seem like what could charitably be described as a “senior moment” — link to today’s Joseph Gerth column in the Courier-Journal.)

Unfortunately for Kentucky, not all of McConnell’s time in the spotlight has been positive. Some of Mitch’s actions and comments in the public eye have been downright tone-deaf to the overall mood of the nation. Case in point, today Mitch is calling for a provision in Obama’s stimulus package that would require government to buy American iron and steel to be stripped (from the Associated Press):

The US Senate should strip a “Buy American” clause from President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, the chamber’s top Republican said Monday amid anger at the restriction from US allies.

“I don’t think we ought to use a measure that is supposed to be timely, temporary, and targeted to set off trade wars when the entire world is experiencing a downturn in the economy,” said Senator Mitch McConnell.

Asked whether he would support trying to strip the measure from what is now roughly an 888-billion-dollar economic stimulus package, the Republican minority leader told reporters: “I think it’s a bad idea to put it in a bill like this, which is supposed to be about jump starting the economy, yes.”

The House of Representatives last week voted to require that public works projects funded by its 819-billion-dollar stimulus bill to use only US iron and steel. The Senate version extends that restriction to all manufactured goods.

McConnell’s comments came as Canada Trade Minister Stockwell Day warned that US protectionism “can only trigger retaliatory action” as he urged Obama to fight the provision.

The Republican leader also urged Obama to lean on his Democratic allies in the US Congress to accept or at least accommodate Republican ideas for how best to pull the US economy out of a paralyzing recession.

“I hope he can get through to them that the way to build this package is, indeed, to do it on a bipartisan basis, which doesn’t mean just talking to us, but including ideas that we think would work,” said McConnell.

That would include plans for government-backed, four percent fixed mortgages to qualified homebuyers, and cutting the bottom two income tax bracket rates from 15 percent to 10 percent and from 10 percent to five percent, he said.

McConnell also denounced the amount of social safety net spending in the stimulus plan and indicated Republicans would like to see fewer zeros on the overall price tag.

“We’ve been throwing figures around like it was paper money,” he said. “We all agree that we need to do something, but I don’t think we should just completely act like the amount is irrelevant.”

While Senate procedures give the minority Republicans powers to slow or stall legislation, McConnell made clear his party’s goal is not to stymie passage of a bill that might revive the US economy.

“Nobody that I know of is trying to keep a package from passing. You know, we’re not trying to prevent a package from passing. We’re trying to reform it — reformulate it — put it in a different place,” he said.

Given how the US steel industry has been decimated over the past twenty years, McConnell’s comments seem downright mean. Though to be fair to Mitch and his fellow Republicans, the only thing that kept the industry alive in the past eight years was the weak dollar. Still, we gotta wonder what Mitch is thinking here. Telling American workers that their own government shouldn’t buy their products isn’t exactly a confidence-boosting measure.