City planners: Proposed Aloft hotel downtown needs better design - WDRB 41 Louisville News

City planners: Proposed Aloft hotel downtown needs better design

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Developer Steve Poe will have to do more work to satisfy city planners regarding the design of an 8-story hotel he wants to build at First and Main streets in downtown Louisville.

But the real threat to the proposed Aloft Hotel -- a initiative by preservationists to designate three old buildings on the site as historic landmarks -- is on hold for now.

Attorney Steve Porter, who is considering gathering the necessary signatures to "landmark" the buildings, said Wednesday that he's halted the effort while Poe works with city officials to tweak the design of the hotel, perhaps incorporating some of the facades of the old buildings.

Poe's first attempt at preserving some of the facade of the Marine Electric building at 110 S. First Street fell flat with the Downtown Development Review Overlay Committee, which took up the plans on Wednesday.

While saying they want the hotel to be built, the committee directed Poe's architect to redesign the part of building facing S. First Street.

Next week the hotel plan goes to a committee of the Metro Planning Commission, which will confirm that the new design meets the intent of downtown overlay committee.

Poe said the hotel is projected to add $600,000 annually to the special downtown taxing district that is paying off the construction debt of the KFC Yum! Center. Revenue from the taxing district hasn't come close to meeting projections since the facility opened in 2010.

David Morris, assistant director of the Louisville Metro Department of Economic Growth & Innovation, told the committee that city officials consider the Aloft a "very worthy project" that will add needed hotel rooms, increase the city's tax base and boost revenue for the Parking Authority of the River City.

The city is going to advance $500,000 toward the project in exchange for a 15-year agreement that the hotel will use the PARC garage on the other side of First Street as the parking venue for its guests, Morris said.

The garage, which currently has view overnight parkers, will generate a lot more revenue with vehicles left overnight by hotel guests, he said.

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