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Curious Louisville: What's With All The New Hotels Downtown?

In our new series, Curious Louisville, we answer your questions about our city. (Submit yours here and check out our first Curious story here!)

For the latest installment of the series, we're answering a question submitted by Mark Wilkins: “Why aren’t there more residential development being built downtown, when it seems like a new hotel is going up every few months?”

When meandering through 800 Tower City Apartments on 4th and York Street, a resident might feel like they’re in a boutique hotel rather than downtown apartments.

At 29 stories high, the building is bedecked with a yoga patio, zen garden, movie room, pool and penthouse-level club. It's one of a few residential developments downtown that's undergone — or undergoing — a multimillion-dollar renovation.

Gone are the days when workers left the area at 5 p.m. Downtown living is back and developers are cashing in.

(Downtown residential map courtesy of Louisville Downtown Partnership)

Jonathan Holtzman, CEO of City Club Apartments, which owns 800 City Tower Apartments, says about one-third of The 800's residents are not originally from Louisville. This includes urban professionals and empty-nesters; the renters come from other cities where they were already living downtown. The second third are Louisvillians who made the jump from the suburbs. The last third are downtowners who wanted a more modern dwelling.

Holtzman also says Louisville-based developers have traditionally not focused on downtown. Many of the residential complexes going up or being renovated are by developers outside of the area, such as 800, Crescent Centre and The VUE, formerly The Barrington.

“The Louisville developers like the suburbs; the Louisville developers have invested in the suburbs,” Holtzman says.

But what a Louisvillian may notice -- like Mark Wilkins did -- is that although many downtown apartments are getting facelifts, there are even more hotels going up. 

(Commercial Real Estate Availability map courtesy of Louisville Downtown Partnership)

My assignment was to try to find out why. Listen to find the answer in the player above.

What question should we investigate next? Vote here

Download the story here.

Roxanne Scott covers education for WFPL News.

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