Here's the first look inside the Omni Louisville Hotel (PHOTOS)

Updated

The 30-story Omni Louisville Hotel has reached 18 stories, and construction is moving at such a rollicking pace that a new floor is now being added every six days.

If that pace is maintained, the final 12 floors of the Omni could be built out in fewer than three months, and officials have said it may top out by the middle of the year.

That was one nugget of information about the project shared Thursday morning during the first hard-hat tour inside the hulking Omni, which now dominates the site bordered by Second, Third and Liberty streets and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

The 1.2 million-square-foot Omni Louisville, with an estimated cost of about $320 million, will have 612 hotel rooms and 225 luxury apartments. The complex will have two pools — one on the third floor for the hotel and another o the 15th floor for apartment residents — and a grand ballroom.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, local media and other elected and city officials took the tour across parts of the first four floors of the Omni, including a full walk-through of the first floor — where many of the restaurant and bar amenities will be located — and the fourth floor, which gives the public its first glimpse at a typical hotel floor.

About 300 workers are now on site each day, including concrete, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, HVAC, drywall framing and hanging, insulation and glass workers and masons.

Interior finishes are now being completed on guest rooms from the fourth to the eighth floors, and pre-cast concrete panels covers much of the structure’s exterior.

Eamon O’Brien, director of sales and marketing for the Omni, said he expects to hit 60,000 pre-booked room nights for the Omni by the end of March. The majority of room nights are booked from 2018 to 2021, he said, and the farthest convention booked for the hotel is in 2024.

During the tour, O’Brien said Omni officials already are hiring for permanent positions and that many of those jobs will be filled later this year. Hotel officials plan to hold a major job fair toward the end of 2017.

He said sales and leasing positions will be filled first for both the hotel and the apartments. Floors four through 15 will be set aside for the hotel rooms, and floors 16 through 30 will house the apartments.

Those positions will be followed by a search for chefs and other service-related positions for many of the hotel amenities.

Those amenities will include a speakeasy with bowling lanes, multiple restaurants, a library-themed bar, the urban Falls City Market, a coffee shop and wine store, a bourbon store and a Heine Brothers Coffee location.

The restaurants include a three-meal concept offering new Louisville-inspired American cuisine; Bob’s Steak & Chophouse, an upscale dinner-only steakhouse; and Iron Quarter, which will serve pizza and craft beer.

Inside, the Omni now is decked out in concrete and steel, and the rooms and amenities are in such early stages that you can only visualize the final product.

But when it opens, O’Brien said, the Omni will be decked out in cast-iron and bourbon barrel accents as a nod to Louisville, and he reiterated that Falls City Market will have fresh food products, much of which will be Kentucky Proud products. The store also will have kiosks within offering high-end products and possibly a food truck-style hot food concept.

O’Brien said most of the first-floor amenities will have access from the street.

Renderings and rental rates for the apartments are expected to be released later this year.

During a news conference before the tour, Karen Williams, president and CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the last game-changing hotel that opened downtown was the Louisville Marriott Downtown in 2005, which sent occupancy rates and average nightly rental rates soaring. She expects an even bigger splash from the Omni.

Fischer said Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts has assured him that the Omni will be unlike anything Louisville has ever seen and will create a wow factor for first-time visitors.

O’Brien said the goal is to create a first-class hotel and amenity center that attracts local and out-of-town visitors.

“This is a hotel for the entire community,” he said.

The Omni is scheduled to open by spring 2018. To see inside, check out photographer William DeShazer’s slideshow above.

Marty Finley covers economic development, commercial and residential real estate, government and sports business.


Work on the Omni Hotel downtown pushes forward

Passersbys should see the Omni Louisville gaining some height.

The more than $300 million, 30-story hotel and residence should start adding two floors a month now that the foundation is in place. Workers have installed 1,200 pillars, totaling 17 miles in length, as part the foundation that will hold up the structure.

A look inside an Omni hotel room | Courtesy of Omni Hotel and Residences

A look inside an Omni hotel room | Courtesy of Omni Hotel and Residences

Construction “will really accelerate” once the fourth floor slabs and columns are in place, according to an update on the construction.

Well ahead of the 2018 opening, the Omni Louisville will unveil model rooms later this month to show what the hotel rooms will look like, the update states. The room design was influenced by aspects of Louisville’s culture and by city landmarks.

Also this month, work on the Second Street median will wrap up. The existing median will be removed and replaced with a double turn lane so hotel guests and residents can access the Omni Louisville once it opens.

Once complete, the Omni will be the third tallest building in downtown Louisville, after National City Tower (40 floors) and 600 West Market (35 floors). —Caitlin Bowling


Omni to debut model rooms as construction intensifies downtown

 

Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts LLC plans to unveil model rooms for the 30-story Omni Louisville Hotel later this month.

In a monthly newsletter that debuted this morning, the company said the model rooms will be completely furnished and will provide a glimpse of what the hotel rooms will look like once the Omni opens in spring 2018. The rooms, according to the newsletter, will feature Louisville landmarks, and the design will be heavily influenced by local culture.

The newsletter did not provide a date for when the model rooms will be available for view or where they will be located. 

The newsletter, “Eyes on Omni,” also provided a brief update on construction, stating that crews have completed the installation of 1,200 75-foot piers for the project, which require a deep foundation. That rings up to 90,000 feet of foundation piers, which is more than 17 miles.

Work will accelerate even more once the fourth floor slabs and columns are in place, which is expected to happen soon. The company said two floors of the hotel tower will be constructed every month once that happens.

Crews also are working on the median along Second Street next to the development, which also is bounded by Third and Liberty streets and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The newsletter says the median work will be completed this month and that the median eventually will be replaced with a double turn lane for left-turn access to the Omni.

The Omni Louisville Hotel is expected to have more than 600 hotel rooms and 225 luxury apartments alongside multiple restaurants, lounge space, a speakeasy and flexible meeting space among other amenities.

Here are a few other interesting tidbits from the newsletter:

  • Omni Louisville’s team recently completed a “marathon tasting tour” of the Louisville region’s restaurants and distilleries to help develop food and beverage plans for the new facility. Eamon O’Brien, Omni Louisville’s director of sales and marketing, will share his favorite stops on Instagram, @EOBourbonCity.
  • Omni was recently named “Highest in Upper-Upscale Segment Guest Satisfaction” in the J.D. Power 2016 North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index study.

Marty Finley covers economic development, commercial and residential real estate, government and sports business.


In Construction: Louisville’s Omni Hotel now airborne as columns rise into sky

It’s been well over a month since we checked in with construction at the Omni Louisville Hotel in Downtown Louisville, and in that time the 30-story tower has risen off the ground. These things go fast when there’s minimal ground or subterranean work like an underground parking garage. So expect some dramatic concrete work to quickly rise up this summer.

The construction site as of last Thursday was distinctly vertical, resembling a sort of concrete hair growing upward from the former Water Company Block bound by Second Street, Liberty Street, Third Street, and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. Many columns will hold up the second floor ballroom space, which will have distinctly fewer columns. To bridge the enormous ballroom spaces and support the roof, a large steel structure will eventually be installed. Meanwhile, the L-shaped tower will continue to rise around the ballrooms.

(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

Omni Louisville

(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

The more than $300 million Omni Louisville Hotel includes 600 hotel rooms, 225 apartments, two convention ballrooms, and a mix of retail that includes a coffee shop, speakeasy with a bowling alley, restaurants, and an urban market. An enormous above ground parking garage will also be built on the site of the old Water Company Headquarters on Third Street, but so far its construction has been slower to start. (You can check out all the apartment buildings comprising Louisville’s current urban apartment boom here.)

The structure was designed by the hospitality division of Texas-based HKS Architects and interiors are the work of Dallas’ waldrop + nichols studio. Birmingham, Ala.–based Brasfield & Gorrie is serving as the project’s general contractor. Check out the latest interior and exterior renderings of the project from our coverage of the project’s ceremonial groundbreaking on January 29.

 

A newsletter from Omni sent to the Courier-Journal and Business First reports that construction progress is moving along on schedule to make its spring 2018 grand opening. That newsletter described what’s clearly visible on the site: that work on the structure’s auger-cast foundation is progressing and vertical support columns are rising off the ground. Omni Project Manager Jeremy Dawkins said construction activity will pick up this month as the tower conspicuously rises into the sky.

The construction newsletter went on to note that the project will require over two million linear feet of wire and half a million feet of conduit, according to Evelyn Strange, president of Louisville-based Advanced Electrical Systems (AES).

If you see anything noteworthy at the Omni Louisville Hotel Site or anywhere else around town, drop a note in our tipline or to tips@brokensidewalk.com.


When you'll start seeing major progress on Louisville's Omni Hotel

Jun 2, 2016, 12:13pm EDT

If you have passed the future home of the Omni Louisville Hotel lately, you probably noticed all the commotion on the site.

Crews have been on the site, bounded by Second, Third and Liberty streets and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, for a few months now, but it has only been lately that we have seen vertical progress.

Jeremy Dawkins, Omni project manager, said in a new Omni newsletter that the project is still on track for a spring 2018 opening.

The project’s general manager, Birmingham, Ala.-based Brasfield & Gorrie, also has tasked contractor F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co. Inc., of Indianapolis, to establish the vertical support columns that have begun dotting the construction site in the last week or two.

“Beginning in June, visual progress will start being made as the project officially begins to go vertical with construction of each floor,'” Dawkins said in the letter.

Evelyn Strange, president of Louisville-based Advanced Electrical Systems Inc., Omni’s prime electrical contractor, said AES is taking its electrical power for the Omni and its parking garage from five dedicated LG&E underground vaults.

But Strange noted in the newsletter that a challenge is working in this type of setting and its limited space because of the sheer number of hotel rooms and apartments planned.

AES has worked on major projects in Louisville before, including the KFC Yum Center and Ford Motor Co.’s Kentucky Truck Plant expansion.

As we have previously reported, the 30-story, 853,000-square-foot hotel and luxury apartment complex will have about 612 hotel rooms and 225 luxury apartments, an urban food market, multiple restaurants, meeting and conference center space and a speakeasy with bowling lanes, among other amenities. (Check out the attached gallery to see how it will look.)

The project has been estimated to cost nearly $300 million, with the city and the state partnering with Omni to cover the costs.

Marty Finley covers economic development, commercial real estate, government, education and sports business.


Omni Hotel Construction and Sales Office

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”http://www.calhounconstructs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/OddFellowsHall.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” module_class=”frame” alt=”Omni Louisville” title_text=”Omni Louisville” use_overlay=”off” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Omni Louisville will be a  30-story luxurious property that will reflect Louisville’s warmth and hospitality, while embracing and celebrating the city’s authentic quality and charm. The hotel will be the luxury brand’s first property in Kentucky.

Set to open in early 2018, the Omni Louisville will be a catalyst to the city’s growth and urban development. Considered the tallest hotel in Louisville and located at Liberty and 2nd Street, one block from the Kentucky International Convention Center, the hotel will be the cornerstone in the city’s most exclusive entertainment, retail and office district, “Fourth Street Live!” The hotel will feature 612 finely appointed guestrooms and suites topped by 225 luxury apartments.  Other hotel highlights include:

  • Food & Beverage: The culinary experiences at Omni Louisville will include an all-day dining venue, lobby lounge, rooftop pool bar and grill, as well as an iconic Bob’s Steak & Chop House as the hotel’s fine-dining establishment serving traditional, American prime cut steaks.
  • Meetings & Events: The hotel will offer approximately 70,000 square-feet of flexible meeting and event space. Meeting and convention attendees will have access to an additional 300,000 square-feet of meeting and exhibit space at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
  • Lifestyle: Guests will have access to an urban rooftop pool deck, fitness center, a Mokara signature spa, lobby art gallery and a Speakeasy with a bowling alley.
  • Grocer: A dynamic, modern urban lifestyle market will connect to the hotel’s lobby. Transforming Liberty Street into a pedestrian thoroughfare, the market will serve as a community gateway for hotel guests, residents and locals alike.

As part of the larger Omni Hotel project in Downtown Louisville, Calhoun Construction Services was hired by Omni Hotels to renovate and fit out the former PARC building on the Omni project site to serve as their construction offices as well as sales office for the hotel until 2018.

Calhoun Construction served as the Construction Manager at Risk as well as general contractor on the project.  The scope of work included inspection and upgrading as needed of existing mechanical and electrical systems to serve the new layouts.  Calhoun self-performed all of the demolition on the project, as well as the studs and drywall, acoustical ceilings and painting.

By working with City Inspectors, Calhoun was able to obtain a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for the Omni Construction offices on the 3rd floor after only two weeks on the project.

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” saved_tabs=”all”]

Square Footage:  8,100 sq ft
Year Completed: 2016
Project Location:  Louisville, KY
Contract Type:  Construction Manager/General Contractor

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Timeline Photos

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_gallery admin_label=”Gallery” gallery_ids=”3247,4643,4644,4645,4646,4647,4648,4649,4650,4651,4652,4653,4654,4655,4656,4657,4658,4659,4660,4661,4662,4663,4664,4665″ fullwidth=”on” show_title_and_caption=”on” show_pagination=”on” background_layout=”light” auto=”off” hover_overlay_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.9)” caption_all_caps=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” /][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”http://www.calhounconstructs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Omni-Hotels-logo1.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” alt=”Omni logo” title_text=”Omni logo” use_overlay=”off” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

With growth of 575% in two years, how is this company still under the radar?

Feb 18, 2016, 2:51pm EST

There is a chance you have never heard of this local construction firm, but it has its hands on some of the biggest projects in Louisville, including two major renovations at Churchill Downs Racetrack and the blockbuster Omni hotel project in downtown Louisville.

Louisville-based Calhoun Construction Services Inc. was formed in 2012, and its revenue grew 575 percent in two years — from $4 million in 2013 to $27 million last year.

John Hinshaw is the new president of Louisville-based Calhoun Construction Services.

Calhoun Construction Services Inc.

The company ranked No. 14 on our list of the Louisville area’s largest general contractors, with $25.8 million in work billed out of local offices in 2014.

Calhoun specializes in construction management, general contracting and trade contracting. Employment at the company has grown from two salaried employees to 25. It also employs about 100 contractors, such as carpenters, laborers, construction workers and other specialty positions.

President John Hinshaw credits Calhoun’s growth to the company’s flexibility — it specializes in all forms of commercial construction but also has expertise in construction management. And, he said, the company’s skilled workforce leads to a lot of repeat customers.

About 100 of Calhoun’s employees and contractors are based in the Louisville area, but the company is active across Kentucky, including Lexington and Owensboro, and in Tennessee, particularly the Nashville area.

As I previously mentioned, Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. (NASDAQ: CHDN) is well-acquainted with Calhoun’s work. The construction firm was the general contractor for the construction of 20 private, open-air owners suites near Churchill Downs Racetrack’s trackside Winner’s Circle last year, a roughly $4 million project

And Calhoun has returned to the track this year to lead the $18 million renovation of the Turf Club, Stakes Room and other premium seating areas — a project that is slated to be finished before the start of the Spring Meet on April 30.

Hinshaw said a lot of the company’s repeat customers are public institutions, with the company having done work for the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. Currently, Calhoun is the drywall contractor for a new training facility for the UK football team, a roughly $2.5 million project,

Hinshaw said the company also has done the general contracting work on multiple Blaze Pizza locations in Louisville, Lexington and Brentwood,Tenn.

According to the company’s website, Calhoun has been a trade contractor for the Speed Art Museum renovation and expansion, is an ongoing maintenance contractor for General Electric Co.’s (NYSE: GE) Appliance Park in Louisville and was a trade contractor on a 53,808-square-foot bourbon warehouse in Shelbyville for global alcoholic beverage giant London-based Diageo PLC. (You can find a full list of the company’s projects here.)

And the company’s profile should only grow — it is working with Birmingham, Ala.-based general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie on construction management of the nearly $300 million Omni Louisville Hotel project that just broke ground in downtown Louisville.

New leadership team

In the midst of this growth, the leadership team has changed for the company.

Calhoun was founded by multiple investors in 2012 who serve as silent partners and remain active in the company, said Calhoun marketing manager Shannon Haste. She declined to identify the investors.

Kevin Harpring led the company as president until he retired last month, turning over the reins to Hinshaw, who joined Calhoun in 2013 as director of operations, where he specialized in managing projects from start to finish.

Harpring was out of the state on Thursday and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hinshaw also became a co-owner in the company in January, along with two other new co-owners, Mike Williams, Calhoun’s operations manager, and Kurt Meadors, vice president and senior estimator.

When I spoke to Hinshaw earlier this week, he confirmed the ownership change but declined to disclose any further details about the ownership structure of the company.

Hinshaw, an Indiana native, has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial construction industry and has worked on numerous projects, including hotels and apartment complexes.

“We’ve built an elite team of professionals here in our community that have the experience and ability to build almost anything,” Hinshaw said.

This article originally ran in the February 18th edition of Business First.