LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The proposed Omni Hotel development will have fake storefront windows and plant-lined trellises along S. Third Street to distract from a parking garage wall that will span the block.

City officials unveiled the updated design on Monday ahead of the Downtown Development Review Overlay committee’s meeting on Wednesday.

The panel, a group of professionals reviewing the design of the $289 million, 30-story hotel, had expressed concerns about the barren look of Third Street with the parking garage.

The committee tabled the plan earlier this month and will take up the changes on Wednesday.

The storefront windows – called vitrines – could display public art or promotional items for the city, said Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, chief of Louisville Forward, Mayor Greg Fischer’s economic development agency.

They could become actual stores one day, but that depends on demand for retail space, she said. The city, which will own the garage through PARC, would be the landlord. Any actual store space along S. Third Street would sacrifice some parking in the garage, she said.

Meanwhile, Louisville Metro received “several” proposals from outside groups interested in preserving the 1910 Water Company office building on the site, said Jeff Mosley, deputy chief of Louisville Forward.

The proposals call for either moving the entire building intact to a location nearby or dismantling it and putting the façade in storage to be used in another project down the road, he said.

Mosley said the city will decide which plan to pursue “very soon,” but he could not be more specific. Dismantling the building would be significantly cheaper, he said. 

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