We – like everyone else – had heard the rumors.
Now, 21c Museum Hotel spokeswoman Stephanie Greene just confirmed the Louisville-based hotel company has yet another market in its sights.
Greene just sent a news release confirming 21c owners plan an 80-room boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and restaurant on West Main Street in downtown Lexington, Ky. pending the approval of city government and other financing incentives.
If approved, the hotel would be located in the architecturally unique Fayette National Bank Building, flowing into an adjacent three-story building on West Main, according to the release.
The Lexington Herald-Leader has a detailed story – “Lexington landmark to become a 21c Museum Hotel” – here, complete with an interview with Steve Wilson, a partner in the project with his wife, Brown-Forman heiress Laura Lee Brown.
Looks like if the deal goes through, it would mean a significant 21c investment in Lexington. The family who owns the bank building bought it in 1999 for $2.9 million, according to the Herald-Leader’s story. 21c investors will ask the city to help secure a $6 million federal loan, according to the story.
It would be 21c Museum Hotels’ third historic restoration project and fourth hotel overall. (Other markets slated to get 21cs are Cincinnati later this year and Bentonville, Ark., which will be new construction, not a restoration, in 2013.)
Construction is expected to begin in Lexington, next year, with the hotel opening in 2014, according to the release.
From the release:
Steve Wilson, CEO and Co-Founder of 21c Museum Hotels notes, “My wife Laura Lee Brown and I both grew up in Kentucky, and we are committed to Kentucky. We are proud to be a part of Mayor Jim Gray’s efforts to make Lexington an even more dynamic city. This is a vibrant community with an outstanding university and we look forward to supporting its cultural life.”
Design Architect Deborah Berke and Partners will oversee the Lexington project, according to the release.
Berke also designed 21c’s Louisville; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Bentonville, Arkansas hotels.
The Louisville 21C incorporates five, 19th-century bourbon and tobacco warehouses into a 90-room hotel/art gallery/restaurant complex at 700 W. Main St. Berke’s design won an Honor Award from the Kentucky Society of Architects and the American Institute of Architects, according to the release.
Berke is also working on the restoration of the Metropole Building, which will be home to 21c Cincinnati. The Metropole is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is being restored following federal standards for historic rehabilitation. 21c Bentonville is new construction and Berke’s design integrates extensive natural lighting throughout the 100,000 square foot property.
About 21c Museum Hotels: Founded in 2007, 21c Museum Hotels is a growing company that oversees the expansion and management of 21c Museum Hotel nationally. 21c Museum Hotel was founded in Louisville, Kentucky by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, philanthropists and arts patrons, who had a vision for bringing art into people’s daily lives and supporting the revitalization of their hometown. The property combines a 90-room boutique hotel, contemporary art museum, award-winning restaurant, and cultural civic center in the heart of downtown Louisville. With 9,000 square feet of art-filled meeting and event space, 21c guests enjoy authentic Southern hospitality while exploring the work of contemporary artists in North America’s only museum dedicated solely to art of the 21st Century. Voted among the top 10 hotels in the world in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in the Condé Nast Traveler annual Readers’ Choice Awards, 21c Museum Hotel is redefining the art of hospitality. Due to the success of the Louisville property and with strong local partners who share the belief that art can be an economic driver for a community, 21c is expanding outside of Louisville. Hotels are under construction in Bentonville, AR and Cincinnati, OH and the company plans to develop 15 properties over the next five to ten years. For more information visit www.21cMuseumHotels.com.