NEWS AND TRIBUNE
Louisville will get a new four-diamond hotel — along with a much-anticipated downtown grocery, retail shops and 200 apartments — under a $261 million downtown development plan announced today by Mayor Greg Fischer and Governor Steve Beshear.
Omni Hotels & Resorts will build a 600-room convention hotel on the old Water Company Block at Third and Liberty streets that will be adjacent to 200 apartments constructed by The Cordish Companies, according to a news release from Omni. The project — the fist Omni in Kentucky — will also include an upscale grocery and retail space for other shops.
The development will be among the largest projects under construction in the region and will be a catalyst for the continued revitalization of downtown Louisville, Fischer said today. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2015 and the project will open no later than 2017. The project is a joint deal between Omni, Cordish, Metro Government and the State of Kentucky, which is providing support in the form of a rebate of taxes that will be generated by the project.
He and Beshear were joined by Cordish Director of Development Nick Benjamin and Mike Deitemeyer, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts, in making the announcement.
“This project is a major infusion in our downtown and to the city’s entire economy,” Fischer said. “It will create jobs, both temporary construction positions and permanent jobs, and it will boost our convention and tourism industry as Omni provides a new level of luxury hotel.”
Fischer said that he is particularly pleased that downtown will, at long last, get an upscale grocery.
“Citizens and visitors have told us for years that a grocery was the biggest missing component to downtown,” Fischer said. “I’m pleased to say that a new grocery is on the way.”
“This investment will be a catalyst for more convention activity, while bringing more out of state visitors to Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “By leveraging the Kentucky International Convention Center and Louisville’s dynamic downtown, the plans for the project will bring added excitement and events to Louisville. It’s these types of public/private partnerships that help make Kentucky the ideal place to conduct business and share ideas.”
“The Omni Louisville Hotel, in conjunction with the planned expansion of the Kentucky International Convention Center, will serve as a critical amenity in the retention and expansion of conventions to the state,” Gov. Steve Beshear said.
The project will create 1,350 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs. The specific components of the project are:
• Omni Louisville Hotel will be the first four-diamond, luxury hotel in the area, and will feature 600 guestrooms and suites, 70,000 square feet of meeting space, a spa, fitness center, two full-service restaurants, rooftop pool-side café, street level retail venue and a lobby lounge. The hotel is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification;
• 200 upscale, market-rate apartment units.
• 44,000 square feet of retail including a high quality, full service downtown grocery store.
• 850 space parking garage to service all three major components (hotel, residential and retail/grocery) developed by the Parking Authority of River City.
The development team of Omni Hotels and The Cordish Companies will be making a $135 million private investment. The city and state have partnered to play an essential role in assisting in the financing of the project via a tax increment bond financing totaling $75 million towards the hotel and $15.5 million towards to the grocery/hotel components. The taxing bonds will be repaid 100 percent by new taxes generated by the development. The public sector’s assistance is consistent with comparable developments in other major cities.
Financing details are:
• Hotel — approximately $180 million ($105 million in Omni private equity, $75 million in tax rebate funds).
• Apartments/Grocery — $45.5 million ($30 private equity, $15.5 million in tax rebate funds)
Parking garage — $17 million, funded by bond issue by PARC.
The city is providing the entire block, bounded by 2nd and 3rd Liberty streets and Muhammad Ali Boulevard and valued at $17 million, to the project.
— News and Tribune