Business is booming in hotel, hospitality industry in Kentuckiana


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 26 at 6:20 PM

(WHAS11) -- Business is booming in the hotel and hospitality industry in Kentuckiana. On Thursday, Sept. 26, there was a groundbreaking on yet another downtown hotel.

The ground breaking on Thursday at Clay Commons is just the latest in several hotel projects underway all over town; so why all the construction?

You can't pass a corner in downtown Louisville without some kind of hotel construction going on. The latest groundbreaking was for the Hilton Garden Inn at Clay Commons right in the heart of 4th Street. This is more than a hotel project but one that could ignite bigger growth.

"When you attract a lot of people, you are going to spin off, bigger retail venues across the street and down the street. I just see this whole corridor coming to life because we are creating a lot of magnets that draw a lot of people," Bill Weland, with City Properties Group, said.

The new hotel will have eight stories and 162 rooms, a rooftop garden and will be an important addition to Louisville's growing downtown hotel scene.

This will capitalize on the growing convention scene with a partnership with its neighbor the Henry Clay. Essentially it will be a mini-convention center

"Today we have 270 events and theater performances each year and that will only be enhanced," Weland said.

This construction says a lot about Louisville tourism and what’s driving it.
“This is a tremendous time for convention and tourists coming to town. With the Bourbon Row and all the activity going on right now; half a million people right now on the Bourbon Trail. So we are having food and beverage tourists like we have never had before," Mayor Greg Fischer said.

Other hotels are already adjusting. The Brown underwent a $4 million renovation completed in 2012. The Seelbach is spending millions. The Marriot opened in 2005 and just wrapped up a $6 million renovation. The Galt House Twin Towers is also seeing big changes.

And with it comes jobs.

"We'll probably have in the neighborhood of 200 jobs at least with the rooftop venue we have coming. That will probably be 40 or 50 people and probably another 100 people in the hotel. And all the construction jobs and that's a lot of jobs," Stephen Schwartz, First Hospitality Group, said.

Changes are also coming to the music scene with the general manager of the Louisville Palace working with another developer to create an additional music hall on 4th street. So the hotel and music scene will see a lot of growth starting soon.