Within 30 days, the $11 million renovation of 800 Tower City Apartments will be complete.

Development company City Club Apartments offered a preview of the mostly renovated downtown apartment complex Thursday night at a ribbon-cutting event.

“It’s a dramatic addition to the city,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “This building is kind of a symbol for what’s going on in Louisville, where you take an old structure like this that has tremendous roots in the community, a lot of history in this building and then you add the modern-day flourishes on it that are a real symbol of us kind of leaping forward into the future here.”

City Club Apartments renovated the 55-year-old, 29-story building and its 286 units, a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The company renovated the first-floor common area and turned the top floor into the Sky Club and Sky Park.

The Sky Club features a gourmet kitchen, fireplace, televisions, flexible lounge seating, an outdoor terrace with a dining and grilling station, a fitness center and an outdoor yoga space. The Sky Park includes a swimming pool, sun deck, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and bar, outdoor televisions and flexible lounge seating.

Apartment upgrades include kitchen islands with granite counter-tops with three different cabinet and appliance options; bathrooms with rain shower heads; custom closets; and wood flooring and Berber carpet. 800 Tower City Apartments offers yearlong leases as well as corporate and short-term furnished rentals for traveling business people who want to stay close to downtown.

“There was something missing” in downtown Louisville, said Jonathan Holtzman, owner of City Club Apartments. “People need to live in the city because once people are living in the city, then the restaurant and the retail [come], and everything just flourishes from there.”

There is now a demographic and social trend among millennials and empty nesters who want to leave near the urban center, he said.

“With that trend in mind, we said ‘Wait a second. We’ve got a great city in Louisville. There’s great political leadership; there’s great companies. Clearly, there’s great entertainment and good food and alcohol,’ ” Holtzman said. “You don’t get often great buildings like this.”

The final piece of the 800 Tower City Apartments to open will be Bar Vetti, a small plates restaurant, with an outdoor patio on the first floor. The restaurant will open sometimes this winter and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner service.

Chef Ryan Rogers, owner of Feast BBQ and Royals Hot Chicken, created the Bar Vetti concept and brought on fellow chef Andrew McCabe as a partner and co-owner.

Dinner will be the main focus, Rogers previously told Insider Louisville. The dinner menu will include wood-fired pizzas, and fresh house-made pastas, paired with seasonally selected entrees and small plates. Bar Vetti also will feature bourbons and a curated wine program, as well as Italian aperitifs and digestifs.

“When I moved here, the options for living downtown were very few and far between,” said Rogers, who moved to Louisville from New York City seven years ago. “But a project like this really helps slingshot us into the future. We’re at a critical moment in the history of Louisville, with a project like this and others coming online in the next few years. I believe we are really going to see a vibrant downtown, where people work, but also live and play.”

He added that the location of 800 Tower City Apartments is perfect for a restaurant, because it has built-in clientele who will visit Bar Vetti for breakfast and dinner, and it will draw people from the Central Business District and Old Louisville for lunch and dinner.

“We want to be that community place here,” Rogers said, “where people in the building are not only going to come and stay with us, but also people in the surrounding neighborhoods. And hopefully, we are going to build a restaurant worth people traveling far for.”

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]