21c Museum Hotel coming to downtown Lexington

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The historic 15-story Fayette National Bank Building, which has graced Lexington's downtown skyline for a century, is slated to find new life as a 21c Museum Hotel.

Steve Wilson, CEO of 21c Museum Hotels, announced today the company intends to come to Lexington, specifically to what is now called the old First National Bank building at the corner of Main and Upper streets and the three-story building adjacent to it. The hotel is expected to employ 150.

21c is known for hotels that are an innovative union of Southern Hospitality, thoughtful design, culinary creativity, and rotating exhibitions of world class contemporary art by emerging and internationally acclaimed artists.

"We have looked at Lexington for a number of years and feel that this is the right time to build a 21c Museum Hotel in this city," Wilson said. "Lexington has entered a new era with visionary leadership. The city's historic downtown and the Rupp District represent remarkably inspired imagination and promise for Lexington and the entire state. They strengthen Lexington's position as one of the state's primary growth engines."

He also notes, 21c is a company experiencing robust growth. "Our Louisville hotel was named the #1 Hotel in America by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine two years in a row and we have new properties under construction in Bentonville, Arkansas, and Cincinnati, Ohio."

Mayor Jim Gray said many who are familiar with the 21c model call it a "game-changer" for downtown. "It stimulates and activates. It connects the dots among many of the investments we've been making in our downtown," Gray said. "Yesterday, Dudley Webb, who is developing Centrepointe just across the street, said 'It's a great project that lifts our spirits; it's a tide that raises all boats.'"

Gray and Wilson stressed that the $38 million project depends on city and state approval of financing incentives. "Financing for a project like this is tough," Gray said. "It won't work without the incentives. Fortunately, the project is entirely consistent with our history of supporting public-private partnerships for growth," Gray said.

According to Gray's budget address, the new hotel will bring 150 new jobs.

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