After years of waiting and no visible action, construction on the proposed $37 million AC Hotel at the corner of Shelby and Market streets in NuLu could start in October or November of this year, according to Rob Webber, chief operating officer of wholesale food company Creation Gardens.
Webber updated the NuLu Business Association last week on some changes with the project and debuted new renderings. Creation Gardens’ owners Ron Turnier and Mollie Turnier own the property on which the hotel will be built.
“We still have to work some with the city on a final approval,” he told Insider Louisville.
The site already has been rezoned to accommodate the five-story, 150-room hotel, but city planning and design officials wanted to see some changes to the exterior design, Webber said.
The original plans called for the structure to be almost 80 percent brick, Webber said, but now the hotel will be crafted using masonry stone as well as copper and other metal paneling and a composite material called EIFS. The new design gives the building dimensions, Webber said.
“What we tried to do is mask this building, so if you were a pedestrian, the building kind of moved in and out with you,” he said. “I think the neighborhood was very receptive when we showed them this plan because it wasn’t a stark brick building.”
The entrance also was moved from the corner of Shelby and Market streets to a spot along Market Street near Creation Gardens’ former headquarters. Webber said the entrance needed to move because of planned changes to NuLu’s streetscape.
“We were struggling because the city is kind of blowing up those corners to make them more pedestrian friendly,” he said.
The AC Hotel in NuLu will include a three-story, 200-car parking garage attached to the backside of the hotel. Although it isn’t shown in the rendering, drivers will be able to turn onto a small street near the entrance to access the parking garage from Market Street, Webber said.
According to the most recent plans, the hotel also will feature a 5,100-square-foot, two-story restaurant at the corner of Shelby and Market streets, a rooftop venue and a small bar in the lobby. The lobby itself will be 20 to 23 feet tall and feature a wealth of glass looking out onto the street.
“You should feel this big great volume with lighting,” Webber said. “This isn’t the exact final rendering. We’ve changed some colors and relocated the bar.”
The bar will now face Market Street, he added.
Kersey & Kersey Architects in Louisville helped design the hotel, and Louisville-based Chenoweth Construction Co. will handle the actual build-out. With construction expected to take 12 to 14 months, the AC Hotel in NuLu is expected to open in early 2018.
The 1.4-acre site along Market Street where the hotel will be built also houses the former Creation Gardens office and Ghyslain on Market. Creation Gardens also will look to lease out its old 6,000-square-foot office, and Ghyslain on Market is expected to close, at least for a bit, while construction is underway. The bistro will have first right of refusal on the 1,800-square-foot space, which the Turniers also own, Webber said.
“We hope he stays,” he added.
North Carolina-based Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co., which will own half the hotel, is handling all the leasing, Webber said.
The NuLu location will be Marriott International’s first AC Hotel in the state. Being an AC-branded hotel, Webber said, they have more freedom with the design and with the type of retail it will house than they would under some other hotel flags.
“It’s just a really cool, urban vibe.”