Each week, the $321 million Omni Louisville Hotel reaches higher into Louisville’s skyline.

With roughly a year left in the construction process, however, the hotel and high-end apartment development has a long way to go. More than 700 workers have together built the foundation for 18 of the building’s eventual 30 floors and are starting to build out the individual rooms.

“What an amazing time it is to be in our city right now,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, pointing to the construction of the Omni Louisville, the renovation of the Kentucky International Convention Center and the popularity of bourbon as things that will continue to spur development locally. “There is still going to be significant growth coming our way.”

The last time Louisville has a big impact project such as the Omni Louisville was back in 2005 when the Marriott opened downtown, said Karen Williams, president and CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. When the Marriott opened, occupancy rates and the average hotel room rate went up double digits, she added.

“Fast forward to today, I would submit to you that the Omni’s a true game changer,” she said. “We expect the occupancy and the average rate in this city to go up tremendously.”

The convention center is going to book 25 percent more business, at least in part because of the Omni Louisville opening, Williams said.

There’s already a lot of buzz around the Omni Louisville. Eamon O’Brien, director of sales and marketing for the Omni Louisville, said the Omni will have more than 60,000 room nights booked by the end of this month.

The majority of those room nights are booked from 2018 to 2021 but, O’Brien said, the Omni Louisville has booked some room nights in 2024. The pre-booked rooms are from various conventions and events coming to Louisville.

For a quick refresher, here are the Omni Lousiville’s stats:

  • 612 hotel rooms and 225 luxury apartments,
  • 70,000 square feet of meeting and event space,
  • Two outdoor pool and bar areas,
  • A spa and fitness center,
  • Two restaurants, one of which will be a Bob’s Steak and Chop House,
  • A speakeasy with four bowling lanes,
  • And a 20,000-square-foot urban grocery and market.

The design will focus heavily on things that are unique to Louisville and part of the city’s history, from hanging work from local artists on the walls to laying out the lobby so that guests walking in will feel like they’ve stepped into a bourbon barrel to the speakeasy bar with a hidden alley entrance.

The Omni Louisville also will bring an urban market and grocery store to downtown Louisville. It will feature a corner flower shop; an artisan flatbread pizzeria with craft beers on tap; a wine store; a Heine Brothers’ Coffee shop; and shelves stocked with some Kentucky Proud fruit and vegetables.

The design will allow for an open air atmosphere at the market during nice weather days. The sidewalks will be triple the width of what they were before the project began and will have likely “significantly more greenery” than before, O’Brien said.

To get an idea of what the Omni Louisville will look like when it opens next spring, check out this virtual tour.

The Omni Louisville has created about 700 construction jobs locally. On March 30, Omni Louisville is hosting a job fair to find additional construction workers. The event is 9 to 11 a.m. at the Kentucky Career Center, 600 W. Cedar St.

It also is expected to create 300 full-time jobs.

The Omni Louisville already has started hiring for full-time positions at the hotel and residence as well. The company is starting with sales, catering and convention services positions.

As the year moves forward, Omni Louisville will begin searching for chefs and the food and beverage team. In the late third quarter of 2017, the company plans to host a job fair for other positions such as cleaning staff and concierge services.