Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Omni Hotels and Resorts officials, along with Gov. Matt Bevin, convened Tuesday morning outside the $315 million Omni Louisville to celebrate its opening more than two years after many of them had gathered to break ground on the hotel and residences at Second and Liberty streets.

“It is not a cookie-cutter convention hotel,” said Bob Rowling, owner of Omni Hotels & Resorts, adding that the 612-room hotel features a wealth of distinctly Kentucky and Louisville aspects.

Rowling said he and other Omni officials were nervous to open the hotel this year because the Kentucky International Convention Center is closed for renovations until Aug. 1. However, he noted, the Omni Louisville has booked more than 50,000 group rooms related to conventions for 2018 so far.

“That’s amazing, and it’s exciting,” Rowling said, adding that 10 percent of Omni Louisville’s 225 high-end apartments on the upper levels of the hotel have been leased as well.

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Omni Louisville workers exit one of the ballrooms after a pep rally with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Omni Hotels & Resorts owner Bob Rowling. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

Multiple people have referred to the addition of the 30-story Omni Louisville as a game changer for the city.

“The Omni Louisville will be a dynamic addition to our up-and-coming downtown,” said Scott Stuckey, general manager of the Omni Louisville.

In return for its investment, Omni Hotels & Resorts’ parent company received $139 million worth of city incentives, a $17 million parking garage paid for by the city parking authority and $90.5 million in state tax rebates toward the $315 million project.

At a pep rally before the ribbon cutting, Mayor Fischer encouraged the Omni Louisville’s more than 400 employees to be good ambassadors for the city of Louisville.

“You’ll be talking to people from far and wide, from Paducah to Paris to halfway around the world, and you’ve got an opportunity to make a statement about yourself and about your city,” Fischer told the crowd, adding, “Are you guys up for this?”

The employees shouted back: “Yes, we are!”

Jim Caldwell, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts, thanked the employees for their hard work in getting the hotel ready for its debut.

“I understand it’s a relative miracle we are where we are today, so congratulations,” Caldwell stated, noting that last week, the Omni Louisville still had a ways to go to prepare.

Rowling closed out the employee event by saying that Omni Louisville will be around for a long time to come.

“Omni is really different from just about everybody else in the hospitality space because we own our hotels and we operate them … so we have a long-term stake in this,” he said. The Omni executives “get up every morning and put our pants on just like you, and we want you to think of yourselves as owners of this hotel, and we think of you as co-workers.”

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]


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