A Florida-based developing company plans to convert the Republic - WDRB 41 Louisville News

A Florida-based developing company plans to convert the Republic Building into a high-end hotel

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A historic Republic Building in downtown Louisville will be converted into a upscale hotel. Hudson Holdings, Inc. purchased the building over the weekend and now many businesses inside the building are now wondering what happens next.

Business is booming at the Manhattan Grill in downtown Louisville, but in the back of the house, confusion lingers as word on a new hotel spreads throughout the restaurant.

“We knew that the building was up for sale. They did warn us about that. But I actually had to find out through Facebook. If it's a hotel that is kind of what is worrying me because most hotels want their own restaurant," said Manhattan Grill manager Jennifer Salome.

Developers at Hudson Holdings say they'll convert the Republic Building into a high-end hotel with 110 rooms.

It's a $20 million project that will transform the 99 year old building, which has several office spaces and a popular business inside.

The 11-story building on 4th and Muhammad Ali was purchased from Blue Venterra LLC for $3 million and it's not the company's first buy in Louisville.

Hudson Holdings closed on the Starks building earlier this year and plan to convert it into a 250 room Canopy by Hilton hotel, with 100 luxury apartments, two restaurants and a high-end health club and spa.

In a written statement, Hudson Holdings director Steven Michael said the following: "We have made a commitment of at least $100 million into Louisville downtown market.   We are looking at a few other assets at the moment. We will make Louisville our regional headquarters for all development into the Midwest."

As Louisville's hotel scene continues to grow, many attribute it to the convention center expansion.

"Developers understand that as you have larger conventions bringing in more people that hotel rooms are needed. When you look at the size of our hotel community compared to compared to Indianapolis and Nashville, we are still grossly underrepresented. By adding these it will actually make us far more competitive," said Patrick Gregory, President of Greater Louisville Hotel and Lodging Association.

But with 18 years left on their lease, Manhattan Grill owners plan to stand their ground in the Republic Building unless a really sweet deal is offered.

"They would have to have the right price because we did put a lot into the expansion," said Salome.

Hudson Holdings director Steven Michael says they are in the design stage and will announce the flag of the hotel at a later date.

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