By| InsiderLouisville |
The eight-story, 133-room Homewood Suites downtown only has one more hurdle left before construction can begin.
The Land Development and Transportation Committee was expected to hear the case Thursday, but it was continued until April 6.
Glenn Price, the attorney with Frost Brown Todd, said his clients Tim Mulloy and Steve Poe opted to continue the case while they work out a few additional project details with the Louisville Department of Public Works.
Mulloy, head of real estate management company Mulloy Properties, owns the land at 635 W. Market St, which is currently a surface parking lot. He has partnered with developer Poe, who will build the Homewood Suites. Poe Companies recently completed the 175-room Aloft hotel at Main and First streets downtown.
Unlike some other development projects, this one won’t go before the Board of Zoning Adjustment or the Planning Commission. Pending approvals from the Land Development and Transportation Committee, construction is expected to start this summer and take about 14 months, putting the opening around late summer or early fall 2017.
The hotel will include an indoor pool, a fitness center, an outdoor terrace with a fire pit, meeting space, a business center, a pantry for guests and a dining area. Homewood Suites guests will park in the city-owned parking garage at 601 W. Jefferson St.
The first-floor facade will be made out of a beige stacked stone or brick, according to Jae Chong, an architect with Atlanta-based PFVS Architecture, but the exterior of the upper levels will be a composite material called EIFS. It will look like granite, Chong said.
The Downtown Development Review Overlay Committee approved plans for the new hotel on Wednesday, with only one vote against. DDRO committee member Ed Kruger took issue with the use of EIFS, which he described as “typical suburban inexpensive material.”
“I’m thrilled to see finally one of the larger surface parking lots in downtown Louisville be on a mission to destruction,” Kruger said. But “I do have extreme reservations though about the project exterior materials, mainly because I think we are not in accordance with our guidelines.”
Glass, steel, precast concrete and brick are more in line with buildings already downtown, he said. EIFS is used on “second-tier hotels.”
After the meeting, Poe said using EIFS comes down to cost and energy efficiency. “We’d love to build really, really expensive buildings, but that means we’d need to have really, really high hotel rates.”
Other members of the DDRO present didn’t agree with Kruger.
“It’s very creative for Louisville in the context of the urban setting,” committee member Milton Haskins Jr. said.