Gov. Beshear: Louisville Hotel Groundbreaking Signals Continued Economic Momentum
LOUISVILLE, KY (STL.News) Gov. Andy Beshear joined local officials, business leaders and developers to break ground on a 122-room avant-garde hotel that is expected to create more than 40 quality jobs in Louisville’s burgeoning Nulu neighborhood.
“What a great day when we can break ground to bring a unique hotel property to Louisville, further attract tourists to Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry and point to new economic vibrancy ahead,” Gov. Beshear said. “This vote of confidence in Kentucky’s future and our economy builds on what we’ve been seeing here and all across the commonwealth. Congratulations to all of the partners involved in bringing this project to fruition. I look forward to seeing this hotel succeed and enhance this important and growing district.”
The $31 million project, on a half-acre at 728 E. Market Street, will become Kentucky’s first property managed by the Bunkhouse Group and is partnered with Kaveh Zamanian, founder of nearby Rabbit Hole Distillery. Scheduled for completion in early spring 2023, before the Kentucky Derby, the hotel’s amenities will include an outdoor art gallery and programmable space, mini mart, rooftop restaurant and bar, and a culinary training center for Bunkhouse staff and other hotels.
West Virginia-based Mountain Shore Properties is developing the project.
“We could not be more excited to partner with Bunkhouse on this one-of-a-kind hotel. Louisville is an amazing city, and we look forward to being a small but significant part of its future,” said Stephen Wendell, principal at Mountain Shore.
Wendell said the hotel’s partners plan to disclose a name for the property in the coming weeks.
Zamanian said the project adds to the neighborhood and city’s appeal and vitality.
“I’ve long been interested in enhancing the entrepreneurial culture and creative spirit of Nulu through art. I’m energized with the hotel partnership and the opportunity through curation of the outdoor art garden to bring a greater sense of community to our neighborhood and city of Louisville,” he said.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer welcomed the start of work on the project.
“The Bunkhouse Group was drawn to Louisville and to the NuLu neighborhood because of our city’s authenticity and its unique history and culture. We are excited to welcome them to be a part of that as Louisville’s national profile as the home of Bourbonism continues to rise, and our downtown and our tourism industry return to their pre-pandemic momentum,” said Mayor Fischer.
Based in Austin, Texas, Bunkhouse is a hospitality group founded on the pillars of design, music and authentic community-driven experiences. The hospitality brand’s portfolio includes 10 distinct hotel properties, eight of which are in Texas, one in San Francisco, and the brand’s first international hotel in Todos Santos, Mexico, along with Austin’s popular coffee shop, Jo’s Coffee. The Louisville property will aim to attract both bourbon-related tourism and business clientele.
The project’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
In July, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include more than $2.8 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 6,600-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through July, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.47 before benefits, a 6.2% increase over the previous year.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in March approved Mountain & River City LLC – an affiliate of Mountain Shore – for up to $500,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.