Investors pay $2.57M for Blue Parrot building, fixtures

LOUISVILLE — Two Louisville residents have purchased the iconic Blue Parrot restaurant property and fixtures in downtown Louisville for $2.57 million.

The Blue Parrot closed Jan. 22 after 98 years, with owner Joan Colacci Riggins opting to retire, although Blue Parrot-branded spaghetti sauce will continue to be sold in stores through a separate company run by her brother.

1882 Ventures LLC acquired the Blue Parrot property at 640 Main St., Jan. 31, paying $2.42 million for the real estate and another $150,000 for the fixtures. The real estate included two parking lots to the east of the building. Two separate parking lot to the south had previously been acquired by the city of Louisville in mid-2016.

It’s been very good,” Riggins said, speaking of the negotiations. “ It’s been a lot of going back and forth, but we came together.”

Riggins expressed pleasure that the building will not be razed. “For me, I’m glad it’s staying,” she said. “They’re going to do some remodeling and fix it up.”

1882 Ventures is comprised of Greg Maring and Mark Oberholzer, who have been having discussions with various restaurants and breweries about taking over the main level of the building.

“The restaurant itself, we’re discussing with a number of  tenants the possibility of using the space,” Maring said,, adding that the new owners conducted a community survey about what residents would like to see go in the property. Responses included everything from American cuisine to healthier options or a brewery, he said.

“With the size of the space, a brewery could work well,” Maring said. “It certainly would lend itself well to a brewery..”

He added, “We’re kind of in that process now of doing our due diligence, getting into a short list [of potential tenants].”

Maring said that he and Oberholzer want to take their time to find the right tenant for the main floor, but he already knows what will happen in the basement, where the Blue Parrot formerly operated a banquet room.

That space will be devoted to a revival of Tilt, an arcade that shut down in downtown Louisville late last summer. Maring acquired co-ownership of Tilt at that time, and he and partner Steve Long intend to revive it, opening in the basement of the Blue Parrot building by the summer.

The Tilt arcade operated on Front Street and included games, pool, table tennis and pinball before its closure last year. The new version could include an escape room and puzzle rooms, Maring said.

The Blue Parrot building will be rebranded at some point, and Maring said he looks forward to doing the property justice after its long history and the legacy of the Blue Parrot restaurant.

“It’s just been a place where families and friends and people have gathered,” he said. “ It’s been an important part of our community and has a great legacy for years. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response.”

Sale of the Blue Parrot property was brokered by Steve Anderson, representing the seller, and Bob Davis, representing 1882 Ventures. Both are brokers with Re/Max Alliance.

“I think this location at the intersection of Pine and Main streets is the most iconic of any building in downtown Louisville,” Anderson said.

Anderson noted that downtown has seen a proliferation of restaurant openings, with no two providing exactly the same type of cuisine. He said the Blue Parrot location represents a prime opportunity for a restaurant, especially given the availability of parking.