LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Just two years after a massive fire provided the city with a blank canvas on Whiskey Row, two hotels will return to anchor the property.
Louisville's downtown seeing 25 hotels now under development, which developers say will be needed to meet the needs of a revamped Convention Center when it opens.
"Whiskey Row is a destination that people from all over the world want to come and see,” developer Steve Poe said.
Over the past two decades Whiskey Row, like the rest of downtown Louisville, has undergone a rapid transformation according to developer Steve Poe.
"We had to convince Marriott that they needed to have a hotel of that size in Louisville,” said Poe.Today Poe has developed 14 hotels throughout Louisville.
With the addition of two new hotels at the corner of 1st and Main St., Poe says Whiskey Row and downtown will soon have a new flavor.
"We've worked very hard to design the whole bourbon, Whiskey Row theme throughout the hotel,” Poe said. “At the same time you can't forget the back of the hotel, and that's Washington Street. It's edgier and gritty, and we're going to have the hotel Moxy there."
"Tourists want a unique experience that includes both the food and beverage experience, the historical experience, but then the architectural experience which is the feel of the city,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.
"It's designed to be part of the millennial crowd,” Poe said. “It's probably a group of people that party a little harder, a little longer, than most of us would."
While Moxy and Distil will feature distinctively different feels, they promise to maintain the historic downtown facades.
"We've got the highest concentration of cast-iron facades west of SoHo,” Poe said. “Now that we've restored those, and we've created energy, and we've created the bourbon trail it's just a really special place. Things like the new convention center and the arena are creating a vibrancy downtown."
But does the city really need another hotel downtown?
"We know the occupancy rates downtown are right around 70 percent,” Poe said. “We think the hotel business downtown is excellent today. We think it will be fantastic once the convention center gets open.”"When you put this with the other 25 hotels under construction and the $11-billion invested in the city, we're on a real roll right now,” Fischer said. “Momentum attracts more investment."
It's not clear at this point when exactly construction will begin on the property, but Poe says he believes that each hotel will open in the summer of 2019.