Next year will be transformative for the corner of South Hancock and East Jefferson streets.
On Thursday, Bill Weyland of Weyland Ventures broke ground on a hotel development at 240 S. Hancock St., near the medical district downtown, that is expected to open next spring.
Just across Hancock Street, his Louisville-based development company plans to revitalize the historic Louisville Chemical building with a mixed-use development that will include 11 loft apartments and commercial space. Pending funding, the renovation of the Louisville Chemical building should be completed by the end of 2017, Weyland said.
He noted that both projects are part of his company’s greater vision for a “dynamic, mixed-use neighborhood” on the edge of downtown.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who was there for the ground-breaking, said: “Think about what has happened in NuLu over the last decade. It’s gone from a place that people drove through frankly to go to work or get out-of-town into now one of the hottest neighborhoods in the entire country. And you can see that happening through tremendous adaptive reuse principles. You can see that here through mixed use as well.”
Weyland Ventures is working with Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development arm, to find funding to help pay for the environmental cleanup the Louisville Chemical building needs. It is seeking state historic tax credits as well.
“We have had to look under more rocks to make this project more feasible,” Weyland said. Weyland Ventures has not released cost estimates for the Louisville Chemical building project, nor the Home2 Suites hotel development, which is part of Hilton Hotels & Resorts.
Home2 Suites aims to attract visitors in Louisville for extended stays, or as Fischer said “really dedicated bourbonism visitors.” The Illinois-based company First Hospitality Group will manage the hotel for Weyland Ventures.
“The opportunity we see here makes us want to be a part of this community,” said Stephen Schwartz, CEO of First Hospitality Group.
The five-story, 100-room hotel will feature 750 square feet of meeting space, a 24-hour market, a pool, guest laundry facility and fitness center. Each room will include a desk, pullout sofa and kitchenette, with a half-size refrigerator, microwave, sink, dishwasher and assorted cookware, glassware and china.
The Home2 Suites hotel will be close to various attractions, shops and restaurants, as well as within walking distance to KentuckyOne Health University of Louisville Hospital, Norton Hospital and Jewish Hospital.
Weyland said the hotel would be five stories in keeping with the look and feel of the neighborhood. Rather than concentrating on one project in a silo or selling off developments, “we tend to build out buildings, and we hold them because we believe in the long-term” development of downtown Louisville, he said.
Louisville-based Studio A Architecture is the architect on the project. Engineering and interior design services are being provided by Louisville-based engineering firm Sabak, Wilson, & Lingo; Dyer, Ind.-based design company Interior Image Group; and Ohio-based structural engineering firm Schaefer.
Louisville-based Bosse Mattingly Constructors is the general contractor, and Wisconsin-based Associated Bank is financing the project.