Downtown Louisville Dream Hotel project moves forward and needs more funding

Plans to build a towering luxury hotel along Main Street in downtown Louisville have yet to receive city approval.

But after taking a big step forward this week, the developer behind the project is moving forward with plans to innovate before the end of the year.

The project – a hotel with nearly 170 rooms, a rooftop pool, four restaurants and additional space for events – was unanimously approved by the West Main Street Architectural Review Board at a meeting Wednesday. The plan will then be reviewed by the city’s development review board, but does not need full approval from the Metro Council, according to Louisville Forward spokeswoman Caitlin Bowling.

Background for subscribers:What a Dream Hotel Can Mean for Downtown Louisville

The plan has not yet been fully approved. But Mayor Greg Fischer touted the project in a statement released Thursday morning by the company behind the hotel.

“The Dream Louisville Hotel is an exciting project that will add much-needed accommodations to our downtown core as Bourbonism continues to attract millions of visitors each year and drive the rapid growth of our hospitality industry,” said Fischer. . “Thank you to the partners at Dream Hotel Group and Royal Investments for their vision and commitment to Louisville.”

The hotel is to be built in the 800 block of Main Street near the Frazier History Museum and the Kentucky Science Center. Six historic but vacant buildings on the block will need to be partially demolished to make way for development, but officials at the New York-based Dream Hotel Group plan to preserve building facades to keep the new hotel’s aesthetic in line with d other buildings. on the block.

The architectural review board discussed the project for more than two hours during its Wednesday meeting, with several Louisville conservatives urging members to vote against demolishing any part of the structures, which were built mid to late from the 1800s.

But other speakers noted that the buildings had been vacant for several decades, and committee members found recent changes to the plan that had been submitted by the developer to be an improvement on the original proposal. A local historic preservation specialist had recommended council deny approval for this project, but reversed course and recommended approving the updated proposal.

Alex Marks, owner of Royal Investments (the development company behind the project), said the vote marked “a great day for the team at Dream Louisville”, but noted that further funding was yet to be forthcoming. approved.

“The construction cost of the project always has to fit within a budget, and these changes to save more buildings have increased that cost significantly,” he said Thursday. “We will continue to work with the City of Louisville and the State of Kentucky on potential incentives to help offset costs and move the project forward.”

Bowling said any financial incentives would have to be approved by the Louisville Metro Council.

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Still, lack of funding hasn’t stopped Marks’ company from setting a construction schedule. Work on the project is expected to begin in late 2022, according to Dream Louisville, with a grand opening expected in early 2025.

Louisville architecture firm Joseph & Joseph designed the hotel alongside Miami-based CUBE3 architects, with additional work from New York-based Wimberly Interiors.

The Dream Hotel Group operates 15 hotels globally and said it also has 25 additional locations in development. Jay Stein, the company’s CEO, said Wednesday’s vote marked “a crucial and exciting milestone.”

“This location marks an incredible addition to our growing portfolio, and we are proud to play a part in creating what will be one of Bourbon City’s most spectacular rehabilitations,” said Stein.

Journalist Ben Tobin contributed. Lucas Aulbach can be reached at [email protected], 502-582-4649 or on Twitter @LucasAulbach.

David H. Henry