We always wondered what “21C” stood for.
Apparently, it’s short for “21 Cities,” because this Louisville-based group of boutique hotels and art galleries is in the aggressive expansion mode.
We just got a news release stating the city council in Durham, N.C. has approved a $5.7 million tax incentive package to bring 21C Museum Hotels to North Carolina.
As in Louisville, 21C will go into an historic downtown building, a creative reuse estimated to cost $48 million. The Durham facility is scheduled to open in 2015.
Durham makes market No. 5 since 21C opened its first hotel in 2006. In addition to the original Louisville operation, 21C execs have announced hotel plans in Cincinnati, which opens this fall, Bentonville, Ark., scheduled to open in 2013, Durham and Lexington, Ky..
In Durham, 21C executives plan to convert a 17-story downtown building into a 21c Museum Hotel. The unanimous city council vote came after 10 business and arts community leaders supported incentives during a public hearing, according to the release. The incentive is payable over 20 years and requires 21c to comply with construction start and finish deadlines and operate the hotel for the full term, according to the release.
In Durham, 21C plans to rehab the Hill Building, a mostly vacant landmark building designed by Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon, the firm best known for the Empire State Building.
The company was founded and funded by Steve Wilson and Brown-Forman heiress Laura Lee Brown. The president and COO is Craig Greenberg.
Project Overview from the release:
· 21c Museum Hotels to be lead developer and manage the completed hotel
· $48 million project cost
· 150 new permanent jobs
· 200 new construction jobs
· New contemporary art museum open free of charge to the public
· Restaurant and bar
About 21c Museum Hotels: 21c Museum Hotel was founded in Louisville, Kentucky in 2006 by preservationists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. The project supports both their desire to preserve beautiful Kentucky farmland through revitalization efforts in downtown Louisville and their vision for making contemporary art a part of more people’s daily lives. 21c has garnered praise from many notable publications, including Travel + Leisure, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, W, and Condé Nast Traveler, whose readers voted 21c among the top 10 hotels in the world in the annual Readers’ Choice Survey in 2009, 2010 and 2011.