At an early-morning ceremony on Friday, the development and construction teams behind the Aloft boutique hotel downtown “topped out” the structure, placing the final beam atop the eight-story structure and reiterating a projected completion date of this fall.
Developer Steve Poe is the driving force behind the 175-room, $25 million project at First and Main streets on Whiskey Row. He announced plans for the hotel, which flies under the Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide banner, in late 2013.
Aloft is geared toward a younger, more discerning audience — one that might appreciate a higher-end guest experience and the proximity to downtown culture. That, of course, will soon include the new Old Forester distillery. It’s also a block from the KFC Yum! Center (and included in its tax increment financing district), and two from Actors Theatre.
The hotel also will have a street-level bar, WXYZ, which will open with a block-party-style get together once the doors are on the place. They’ll serve specialty cocktails and host live music. The WXYZ brand is part of Aloft Hotels. Poe teamed with REI Real Estate Services to develop the hotel. White Lodging will manage.
Aloft is expected to compete with its neighbor to the west, 21C Museum Hotel. But we’re not sold on this whole “can Louisville sustain two hip boutique hotels downtown” concern. They’re fundamentally different — one has food, the other doesn’t. And while they’re both in increasingly walkable areas, they’re not in exactly the same walkable area. We’re thinking they can work in a sort of tandem to capture and help expand a blossoming Generation Y tourism market.
Poe and his team — which includes construction partner Whittenberg Construction — were joined by Metro Council President David Tandy and representatives of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which has partnered with Metro Elevator to launch a “pink elevator” fundraising campaign at the site.
If you spend any time downtown, you’ve surely noticed that pink elevator affixed to the side of Aloft (it’s on the First Street side and pretty much impossible to miss). It’s part of a nationwide effort by Komen to get its iconic pink on high-traffic, high-profile construction sites, to raise both money and awareness. The Louisville campaign will run through July 15.