Mayor Fischer reveals design of Omni Hotel project - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mayor Fischer reveals design of Omni Hotel project

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fantastic and stunning. That's how Mayor Greg Fischer describes the look of the new Omni Hotel project.

Fischer unveiled the much-anticipated design for the downtown addition Wednesday.

Construction will begin in January on the block that includes the old Louisville Water Company building at Third and Liberty. It will transform the look of downtown Louisville, but there are still questions to be answered.

“This hotel is going to be a fantastic and stunning addition to our downtown,” said Fischer as he revealed the design, a dramatic, 30-story glass and brick addition to the Louisville skyline.

The top 14 floors will contain 225 apartments, and the bottom section will house 600 hotel rooms, a grocery store, and various shops and restaurants.

“This is a big investment, a $300-million investment from a company outside of our city that is investing a great deal, saying we believe in the future of Louisville,” said Fischer, referring to the Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts.

The designer says he envisioned the idea of Louisville at a crossroads, incorporating its historic architecture with a futuristic feel.

“We didn't want this project to feel like it could be placed anywhere across the country. We wanted it to be specific to the sense of place and what Louisville's about,” said Eddie Abeyta of HKS Architects.

But the fate of the historic building currently on the site is still uncertain. The mayor has announced a plan to move all or part of the old Water Company building to a new location.

He's facing a June 20 deadline to find a private investor to take the building and help pay the cost of the move.

“I know we're showing the building to some folks, but in terms of detailed proposals yet, we haven't received any,” said Fischer.

Abeyta says he did try to incorporate the Water Company building into the design, but it would have added to the cost and was simply not practical.

“It just made things much more complicated, and compromised a number of elements with regards to the hotel and residential component, and compromised some of the parking related to the urban market,” he said.

City leaders are hailing the project as a key to attracting both tourists and permanent residents to downtown.

“With the expansion and renovation of the convention center, it's a perfect storm. This is exactly what we need,” said Karen Williams, president and CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Construction is scheduled to be finished in March of 2018.

Related: SUNDAY EDITION | Downtown Louisville grocery promised despite uncertain market

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