Why Hilton Chose Louisville for Its First Tempo Hotel

Louisville-based Weyland Ventures LLC and hotel partner First Hospitality have officially broken ground on a six-story Tempo By Hilton hotel at 710 E. Jefferson St. that should be ready for guests by the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

And Hilton officials confirmed Wednesday that it will be the first Tempo hotel to open in the world.

The hotel, named Tempo by Hilton Louisville NuLu, will house 130 rooms and a rooftop bar, among other amenities. Phil Cordell, global head of new brand development for Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., said he feels the NuLu area has the “perfect combination” of retail, restaurants and other commercial activity that made it a strong landing spot for the first Tempo Hotel.

But it also helped that First Hospitality was involved. Cordell said Hilton called on franchise partners early on to provide their thoughts and input on how the Tempo brand should be developed, and First Hospitality was engaged in those talks early.

“It gave them the … shot to be the first to develop with us,” Cordell said.

The Tempo brand is targeting a younger demographic and is focused on wellness and experiences. Tempo’s guest rooms have designated areas for guests to work, recharge and get ready for the day. And Tempo by Hilton properties will feature shared guest spaces and food and beverage concepts designed in conjunction with culinary firm Blau + Associates. Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global is another brand partner, offering customized morning and bedtime rituals at Tempo properties.

Cordell said the rooftop bar will stand out in the Louisville market for its Latin-inspired concept that will bring some new ideas to the city while pairing those concepts with bourbon cocktails to give it the Louisville flavor.

Other Tempo hotels will break ground later this year in locations like New York, Maui, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Cordell said Hilton has 40 committed Tempo projects and another 30 in the works.

The groundbreaking came after we reported on Saturday that the Tempo hotel will anchor a larger NuLu development called NuLu Yard. The project also will include a large parking garage, a 190-unit apartment complex and a 70,000-square-foot commercial complex housing a food hall on the first floor, a large fitness center and 30,000 square feet of co-working space. Construction costs have not been disclosed by Weyland Ventures.

Louisville-based Donhoff Kargl Nall Architects is the architect for the hotel while K2M Design is the interior design firm. Several engineering groups are also working on the proposal.

Mayor Greg Fischer praised the development team involved, noting past ventures in the city by Weyland Ventures, Hilton and First Hospitality as a good sign for this development.

“This project is going to be a home run success here,” Fischer said.

Mariah Gratz, CEO of Weyland Ventures, said this project is the culmination of years of work to revive this area and connect NuLu with the downtown medical district.

Weyland Ventures has been highly active in the NuLu neighborhood over the years, particularly when it comes to mixed-income housing. Its residential developments there have included Quad Apartments, Park Edge, City Homes on Hancock Green and 310 at NuLu. The firm also opened the five-story, 100-room Home2 Suites by Hilton Louisville in the NuLu/medical district area.

Likewise, the company has experience with mixed-use developments that include hospitality and food and beverage components. It recently opened Hancock House, a 16-unit micro-boutique hotel in the former Louisville Chemical building at 601 E. Jefferson St.

Weyland Ventures also has partnered with former nightclub owner and Louisville native Scott Smith to create ChurchKey, a themed restaurant, sports bar and event venue concept in NuLu that will be spread across more than 20,000 square feet and a roughly 4,000-square-foot outdoor courtyard in a former NuLu Church at 600 E. Market St. That project is expected to open later this year.

See Louisville Business First’s article here.

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