LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The $315 million, 30-story Omni Louisville Hotel opened for business Tuesday, the most significant project in downtown Louisville since the KFC Yum! Center in 2010.
The 612-room hotel, like its counterparts in Nashville and Dallas, aims to attract bigger conventions to the River City. It also includes 225 luxury apartments on its upper floors.
The hotel, built on a city block that had been vacant and held for redevelopment for years, is perhaps the most visible accomplishment of Mayor Greg Fischer’s seven years in office.
Fischer finalized the deal in 2015, and construction began in early 2016.
Omni Hotels, which is privately owned by Dallas-based TRT Holdings, had significant help from taxpayers in bringing the hotel to Louisville. Louisville Metro gave Omni the city block and built the parking garage underneath the hotel, together a $34 million contribution to the project.
And up to $102 million of Omni’s costs will be repaid over 30 years with city and state taxes generated on the site, such the hotel taxes that guests pay in their room bills, property taxes on the building and sales taxes at the Omni’s urban grocery store.
“I know that you all have made a significant investment in this – the citizens of this city have made a significant investment – and I promise you, you are going to get your return in spades,” said Bob Rowling, the chairman of TRT Holdings, at the opening event Tuesday.
A similar public financing scheme supported the construction of the downtown Marriott, which is across Liberty Street from the Omni, in the early 2000s.
The building also includes a rooftop pool, a speakeasy-themed bar with four bowling lanes, a 20,000-square-foot “urban market” that sells non-perishable staples and a limited amount of fresh produce, a spa and several restaurants, including Bob’s Steak and Chop House, which sells steaks for $44 to $68 apiece.
The hotel is expected to be a prime draw for larger conventions that will be possible once the $207 million renovation of the Kentucky International Convention Center is complete in August.