An out-of-town hotel development and management company is planning to construct a five-story extended-stay TownePlace Suites at West Jefferson and South Eighth streets downtown.
Nash Desai, chief construction officer for Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based Athena Hospitality Group, told Insider in a phone interview that the company has been looking to enter the Louisville market for a while and even had a previous hotel project in the works locally, but it fell through.
“It’s a great market,” Desai said. “We have seen the growth that Nashville has. I think Louisville is comparable to that.”
Athena Hospitality Group plans to buy 801 W. Jefferson St. from the current owner, the well-known developer Bill Weyland, Desai said. But first, the city must approve designs for the hotel by Louisville-based Studio A Architecture and the demolition of an existing two-story office building on the site.
“We are still in the preliminary stage of design,” Desai said, noting that the proposed hotel will have roughly 120 rooms.
Documents filed with Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services call for a 68,804-square-foot hotel with valet parking in an adjacent parking lot, an indoor pool, a fitness center and a boardroom. The plans don’t say how much parking is available but listed the estimated project cost at $7 million.
Athena Hospitality Group already has an agreement with Marriott to use the extended-stay TownePlace Suites flag, Desai said. The half-acre site is the “perfect spot, and the brand is what the area requires.”
There is currently no timeline for when construction could start, Desai said, but he is hopeful that once construction starts, it will be completed in 18 months or less. “We want to start as soon as we can.”
Athena Hospitality Group manages 11 hotels in Tennessee, Louisiana and Kentucky. The company has four other Kentucky hotels in development currently.
If approved, the TownePlace Suites would be the newest downtown hotel in development. A dual-branded hotel, Moxy and Hotel Distil, are under construction at First and Main streets, and a $27 million Cambria Hotel is being built at 120 S. Floyd St.