Louisville Magazine

MAR 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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3.14 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 2 9 Will you get involved in that? "If he calls me. He's a friend. NuLu is a success, and I think he thinks he can replicate that. And you've got great stock. Circling back to downtown: Tere are so many vacant buildings and so many vacant lots. We need to be more aggressive with public-private partnerships and having the city — on city-owned property that's either abandoned or surplus — partner with the private sector to develop those properties. Sounds simple. Let's not get caught up in the administrative red tape and worry about, 'Oh, my gosh, are we selling this property for too low?' Let's get something developed on these properties that have been lying around for 10 years." Are there cities that Louisville would do well to emulate? "Oklahoma City comes to mind. Tey've had all kinds of companies relocate there. Tey've created all kinds of wealth. Teir downtown is emerging. I know we always (refer to) Cincinnati, Nashville, Indy. I'd like for us to think a little bit diferently and think about a place like Oklahoma City." You've brought up the mayor a couple of times. What kind of job is Fischer doing? "I think he inherited a tough position at a very difcult economic time. I think he's a big thinker, a consensus-builder, but I think he's got his work cut out for him." If you were Mayor Fischer, or the mayor, what would be your top three or four priorities for the city of Louisville? "If I were mayor, the frst thing I would do is focus a substantial amount of my time on the recruitment of companies from out of town to relocate either operations or headquarters here. Because the incremental spinof from that is huge. Look at Ford. Anything having to do with logistics, I'd be going after those in unison with the UPSes of the world or the Zappos of the world. I'd go after anybody with a Louisville tie. Go out and fnd every CEO and president of every company that's got a Louisville background and just talk to them. And if they say no, ask who might be interested. Because CEOs network with each other. And this is not a shot at Mayor Fischer. But you asked me what I would do. I would go to every event in the country or world that is an international recruitment event." Turning to media. Why did you buy the Voice-Tribune? "First of all, my wife Tracy runs the Voice- Tribune. Just so we're clear." Oh, I know. I see her billboards everywhere. "She's done a fantastic job. It was a 60-year-plus community treasure. I read it growing up. We bought it, turned it into a completely diferent format, and we've also launched a glossy quarterly. It's in its own space. It's not a Louisville Magazine. It's purely what the Voice does in glossy." How's it doing? "It's doing well. I always wanted to own a glossy. . . . I'm a fan of print. When I give my wife suggestions as to what she may want to do, she says, 'If you want to fre me, you can implement your suggestions. Otherwise, go run your other businesses.'" What do you do for fun? "We travel. We collect art. And exercise from time to time." You've done marathons, right? "I've done minis." What's a typical Jonathan Blue day? "Five a.m. get up, check Twitter — I do that because of news — work out. Say goodbye to my two daughters before school, if I'm in town. Head into the ofce and have a slew of meetings and catch up on phone calls, mostly me with my staf. We're looking at new opportunities, and we're managing existing businesses." Is there a white whale of a business you've wanted to buy or get into? "I'm very fortunate. I've almost done it all. We did the Mike Tyson fght (2004 at Freedom Hall vs. Danny Williams). Tat's how we got into sports. So we realized that dream. Always loved the Voice; wanted to be in the newspaper business and now we're in it. We've found that if we have the passion for something, we've succeeded. If we don't have the passion, we get in trouble. Perfect example: We're from Kentucky and always wanted to be in the bourbon business. We couldn't invest in the 50 people who call us a week and say, 'I have a bourbon concept.' But this company (Angel's Envy) came to see us. Tey had revenue, they had a brand, and it was good. And they're building their facility a block away. How could it be any better? Tat's a perfect investment for us." Did you work for your dad at the scrap- metal business? "I did." When you were a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up? "Te very frst thing, a paramedic. Tere was a show on TV called Emergency. Tat's what I wanted to be. Later on, I wanted to be NBA and all that." At what point did you want to be in business, have your own business? "I went to college at the University of Pennsylvania. I worked in New York as a management consultant for three years and then asked my father if I could come home and work for the family business. We quadrupled in size from the time I started till the time we sold. Tat was from 1992 to 1998." Do you and your brother Todd do much business together? "We don't. You know he's almost exclusively in the car sector. You'll have to talk to him. We have one asset we own together. But that's it. I don't think he's in town much anymore. But talk to him. Y'all have written about him. I don't want to speak for him, but I know he's mostly out of town with those businesses. Talk to him." You said that when you sold your sports- management operations, you agreed to a non-compete clause, which is about to expire. Is your company looking to get back into sports? "We might look into that sector. We need to look into the digital-media sector more as it relates to the businesses we're in. So sports and entertainment, digital media and distribution." Earlier, you mentioned something like an ACC network that's inevitable. "Other than sports, I don't watch a movie or TV show in a theater or when it's actually broadcast. I watch them on my iPad on a plane or on a treadmill. Tat's why sports rights are going to go through the roof more and more. Why? Because that's the only thing left that's live. Even a presidential debate — you can watch the sound bites an hour later; that's all you care about. But people don't want to just watch the highlights on SportsCenter; they want to watch the event live. And even if you DVR it . . . when Louisville lost last year (in football to Central Florida), I was walking out of my daughter's soccer game. I heard 'Louisville lost!'" Tanks for your time. "Enjoyed it." 26-29 Dept.indd 29 2/20/14 11:57 AM

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