LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 6, 2014) — 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 Gov. 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. The project 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.
He and Beshear were joined by Cordish Director of Development Nick Benjamin and Mike Garcia, Omni’s CFO and Senior Vice President of Development, 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 a new 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.”
Gov. Steve Beshear said the project is good for the entire commonwealth.
“This investment will be a catalyst for more convention activity, while bringing more out-of-state visitors to Kentucky,” Beshear said. “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.”
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.
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 s.f. 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 s.f. 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 hotel and the apartments will share amenities including concierge service that will offer a unique, downtown lifestyle.
The total cost of the project is $261 million, with 51 percent, or $135 million of that, coming directly from private equity ($105 million from Omni and $30 million from Cordish)
The state is contributing $90.5 million — or 35 percent of the project through the form of tax rebates.
The city is contributing $35.5 million — or 14 percent of the total project. Of that, roughly $17 million is the value of the land, which the city purchased years ago, and about $17 million is to construct a parking garage. There is also $1.5 million of contingency.
The state had previously provided approval for a reimbursement of new tax revenues generated as a result of the project that can be applied toward repayment of the debt obligation. The tax increment incentive will have to be renegotiated based upon changes to the project, but it is anticipated that there will still be a significant state tax increment contribution.
The public sector’s assistance is consistent with comparable developments in other major cities.
The Omni Louisville Hotel will be the company’s first property in Kentucky. Omni will focus on creating exceptional experiences for its guests by showcasing the local flair of Louisville throughout the hotel’s design, décor, culinary and retail venue. In addition to the 70,000 s.f. of meeting space planned for the hotel, meeting and convention attendees will have access to an additional 300,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space at the Kentucky International Convention Center. The Omni Louisville Hotel will become a part of Omni’s robust and growing Convention Collection, which features signature properties in Atlanta, Dallas, Fort Worth, Nashville, Providence and Washington DC, to name a few.
“We are pleased to announce the development of the Omni Louisville Hotel,” said Mike Deitemeyer, President of Omni Hotels & Resorts. “Louisville is a thriving city, and we are ready to work in partnership with the city, state and The Cordish Companies to develop a full-service, four-diamond hotel that will bring more meetings and conventions, as well as business and leisure travelers to the area.”
“It is remarkable to reflect upon how far the downtown has advanced over the past ten years since the opening of Fourth Street Live!. The city’s successes over the past decade and today’s announcement would not have been possible but for the extraordinary leadership of the City and State,” Blake Cordish said. “The addition of a four diamond Omni convention hotel, downtown grocery store and upscale apartments will be a major catalyst for growing the city’s convention business and helping to make the downtown a 24-7 community. We are incredibly proud to play a role in the revitalization of downtown and we are committed, in partnership with the city, state and Omni, to develop a best-in-class development that will be a source of pride for the community.”