Louisville planning panel postpones Omni Hotel discussion amid concerns over design, preservation
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Downtown Development Review Overlay Committee put off voting on the design of the proposed $289 million Omni Hotel after four hours of testimony on Wednesday.
The committee -- a group of architects, businesspeople and city planners that considers all downtown projects -- got hung up on the lack of a plan for the 1910 Louisville Water Company building on the Omni site and the lack of retail or greenery along S. Third Street, where the hotel plans to have its parking garage and loading docks.
Omni CFO Mike Garcia told the committee that his architects are re-thinking the plan for Third Street to see if some storefronts can be squeezed in.
He said the lack of active design along Third Street is a byproduct of Omni's decision to make S. Second Street the hotel's signature entrance and front door.
“Third Street became -- you have to put your parking somewhere," Garcia said. "We know it’s important, so we are working towards tyring to soften it up."
Overlay district members also questioned why the 1910 Water Co. building can't be incorporated into the project. Jeff Mosley, a Louisville Metro economic development official, said the only two options are to move the building entirely to another site or dismantle it and place it in storage to be reconstructed later.
Mosley said incorporating the Water Co. building into the design would have required an extra $6 million to $12 million expense to put the hotel's parking garage underground.
"All of that was considered and Omni considered it for a long time, but ultimately the decision was made to be where we are today," Mosley said.
The committee will take up the Omni plan again on Wednesday, July 29. Omni plans to start construction next year and open the hotel by March of 2018.
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