LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A closed laundromat on Bardstown Road in the Cherokee Triangle will be demolished to make way for a five-story boutique hotel and a bar, according to plans filed Friday with Louisville Metro government.
Dustin Hensley, owner of Utopia Ventures LLC, plans the project at 1125 Bardstown Road, between Akiko’s and Nowhere Bar.
“This would be the biggest project of my career,” said Hensley, who said he is 37 and manages multifamily buildings and does historic preservation work primarily in Old Louisville.
Hensley’s company took title to the Bardstown Road property in 2017, records show.
Hensley said the hotel will be upscale and “super-boutique” – about 40 rooms. It will be set back from Bardstown Road against the alley at the rear of the lot.
The bar will be closer to Bardstown Road, according to plans.
Hensley said he hasn’t nailed down the project’s financing, hotel brand or construction timeline. One of the buildings could be constructed by the end of the year in the fastest scenario, he said.
Hensley said he is not worried about vacant buildings along the historically vibrant Bardstown Road corridor.
“I am not really concerned about Bardstown Road going backwards; there is a lot of development in the city in general,” he said. “I don’t think the Highlands is going anywhere.”
Louisville Metro government filed two liens totaling $1,777 on the Bardstown Road building last year for property maintenance code violations, records show.
Hensley acknowledged the liens but said “There is no point in spending thousands on a building you’re going to tear down.”
Hensley also appears to have been the subject of a WHAS investigation in 2009.
The station reported at the time that more than a dozen construction workers employed by a Hensley-managed company on an apartment renovation in Old Louisville were not paid for their labor, and that Hensley had been convicted of armed robbery and theft in 2006.
Hensley declined to talk about that reporting.
“I would like to leave the past in the past,” he said. “Obviously I am doing big things. I think my actions speak for themselves.”
Online court records show Dustin L. Hensley was convicted robbery and theft in Jefferson County in 2006 and that the same person was convicted of operating as an unlicensed HVAC contractor in 2010.