Lexington’s first skyscraper will be transformed into a boutique hotel. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray calls it a “game changer” for downtown.
The transformation of the old First National Bank building at the corner of Main and Upper Streets will be the fourth 21c Museum Hotel. The first property was opened in Louisville in 2006. The company is currently building hotels in Cincinnati, Ohio and Bentonville, Arkansas.
"They were audacious in imaging and creating and building a brand,” Gray said of 21c during the formal announcement of the $38 million project Tuesday.
Gray said “imagination and determination” have produced a “remarkable business model.” He believes the project will connect the dots between commerce and culture in the center of the city.
The hotel company’s CEO, Steve Wilson, described his properties as “a unique animal,” part hotel, part contemporary art museum.
Wilson said the Lexington hotel, in the 15 story building opened I 1914, will be different than from the Louisville hotel. "It will have its own character, totally unlike Louisville because of the stature and grandeur of the building."
Government backing will be crucial to the project. 21c will seek eight million in federal loans plus state tax incentives.