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Downtown Louisville Omni Development Gets Panel's OK, With Caveats

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Plans to construct a 30-story Omni Hotel complex in downtown Louisville are moving forward after gaining approval on Wednesday—with some caveats—from a city review panel.

The Downtown Development Review Overlay committee voted 6-2 at to approve the near $300-million development plan, which will include a hotel, apartments and retail. Committee members approved the plan with eight added conditions.

The conditions include a call to incorporate public art in the final design, to construct glass garage doors on the loading dock and to report any significant archaeological finds during construction.

Committee member Scott Kremer voted against approving the plan.

He said developers need "to do a little more work" in order to meet the requests voiced by residents and committee members during nearly eight hours of public discussion spanning two meetings this month.

Kremer said the conditions approved will provide only slight differences in the originally presented plan.

“There’ll still be loading dock there. There’ll still probably be a lack of retail storefront. So did we make the difference there? I’m not sure. Did we fight for it? Absolutely," he said.

Kemer said the lack of an engaging streetscape along Third Street will not create a good experience for pedestrians.

Omni representatives, Louisville Forward deputy chief Jeff Mosley and Develop Louisville director Jim Mims hurried out of the meeting and declined to comment on the conditions set forth by the review committee. Mosely and Mims worked closely with Omni on the project.

A spokesperson for the city's economic development department also declined to comment.

The review committee also approved plans to remove the old Louisville Water Co. building which has set on the site of the development for more than a century.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he's "pleased with the enhancements" presented by Omni developers.

Earlier this week, Omni revealed reworked plans that include windows along Third Street. Initial plans featured a wall along Third Street.

Eddie Abeyta, chief architect on the project, said the Third Street side of the development will also be fortified and built in a way so that it can accommodate retail spaces in the future, if the need arises.

Omni will next take their plans to the Board of Zoning Adjustment for approval before they can apply for construction permits. Mosley said the aim is to break ground by early 2016 and have the hotel, retail and apartments open for business by March 2018.

 

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Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.