AHOY CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
AHOY (Adventure House of You) is a $4M immersive children's museum slated to break ground in Louisville's West End in 2024. AHOY is going to be modeled off the City Museum in St. Louis, an interactive museum that turns art into a giant playground for children. AHOY will feature exhibits based on the 1937 flood, artistic renderings of cultural assets of the area, Falls of the Ohio and fossils, Mary Millicent Miller, who was the first female steamboat captain in the United States, and more. Unlike other museums in Louisville, AHOY will encourage risky play throughout the museum and its outdoor play area. Risky play encourages children to climb, jump and test boundaries to overcome fear and support healthy, independent growth.
ANGELS ENVY EXPANSION
Angel’s Envy announced in December 2023 that a second planned expansion to its prime spot downtown on Louisville’s Bourbon-soaked Main Street. The expansion will add 98,000 square feet to the distillery’s downtown presence and provide spaces for tours and tastings, blending lab, rooftop bar, event spaces, classrooms, kitchen facilities and VIP space as well as a warehouse for finished bottles. The new building will be across the street from their Main Street flagship headquarters, complete with a proposed pedway connecting the two buildings. Their first expansion, which was just completed in 2022, added five tasting rooms and doubled their annual guest capacity due to increased demand.
CHURCHILL DOWNS RACETRACK EXPANSION
The legendary racetrack is undergoing a major renovation transforming key areas, including a renovated grandstand area along the famed track’s homestretch along with a new interior premium hospitality space in the first-floor concourse. The new Turn 1 Experience has added a hospitality venue with premium seating alongside a reserved viewing terrace, while the Paddock Area is undergoing a re-design to enhance the flow of the famous plaza and upgrade the front entrance experience. The capital investment project is scheduled to be completed in 2024, just in time for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby.
THE DOT EXPERIENCE MUSEUM
American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is undertaking a $55 million renovation and expansion of its campus at 1839 Frankfort Ave. The project totals more than 100,000 square feet and includes a cultural, interactive museum. The museum, which had its groundbreaking in May 2023, will be called The Dot Experience Museum, named after Braille, a written language composed of a series of six dots often used by people with blindness and low vision.
The museum will have five exhibits across 28,000 square feet. The Dot Experience Museum will share first-person stories of blindness and human experience. The museum will also showcase history and artifacts from historical figures without vision. Museum visitors will be able to find Helen Keller’s desk and archives, Stevie Wonder’s piano, original Braille machines, José Feliciano’s guitar and much more. The project is expected to be completed and open to the public in 2025.
River City Entertainment Group is planning a $65 million project to turn Louisville Gardens into multipurpose sound stages and more. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024.
The building initially opened in 1905 as the Jefferson County Armory. Over the years, it became an entertainment and event venue for gatherings but unfortunately closed its doors in 2006.
The plans for the 40,000-square-foot property call for four sound stages for film, television, social media, and other types of productions. In addition, a theater, office and retail space, and a museum are in the preliminary plans as well.
THE LAST REFUGE
Heaven’s Door, a collection of award-winning American whiskeys co-created by Bob Dylan, is opening a brand experience in the former Refuge of Kentucky Church (600 E. Market St.) and neighboring Zephyr Gallery called The Last Refuge.
The project will open in two phases, including a bar, restaurant, music venue, and art gallery. Phase one consists of the $2 million transformation of the over 150-year-old church, which will house everything except for the art experience and is expected to open in 2024.
Phase two includes opening the accompanying art experience in the Zephyr building 18-24 months later, which the company bought for $1.23 million. It will showcase some of Dylan’s artwork, multimedia displays + curated work by other Kentucky artists.
In addition to The Last Refuge, Heaven’s Door will expand its distillery operations into Pleasureville, KY, in 2024.
LOUISVILLE MUHAMMAD ALI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT RENOVATION
A $500 million project is underway which includes plans to convert to geothermal energy, upgrade jet bridges and walkways, redesign ticket counters and baggage claim areas and add more lines to security.
LOUISVILLE ZOO KENTUCKY TRAILS
This ambitious project is to be located on 20 undeveloped acres at the Louisville Zoo. Kentucky Trails will be an extensive, interactive, naturalistic experience, providing up-close encounters with bison, elk, black bear, bobcat, eagles and other iconic native animals. It will feature an Upland South Safari guided tour in an open- vehicle, a pedal, paddleboat ride, a rickhouse hall restaurant and event space, a habitat theatre and the Kentuckiana Conservation Center highlighting the Zoo’s partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
In December 2023, Pursuit Spirits opened a new distillery in Clifton, offering two new immersive bourbon experiences at this location. One experience is a tasting and the other allows you to taste, pick a barrel and fill your own bottle, but this is just the beginning.
They also announced another new visitor experience at 722 W. Main Street on Whiskey Row called Bourbon Pursuit to help guests feel like ‘insiders’ by tasting various barrels to select and fill their own bottles. Featuring a speakeasy-style basement bar, they will house a podcast studio and offer whiskey releases, bourbon education and various events. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2024.
WATERFRONT BOTANICAL GARDENS
Situated in the Butchertown neighborhood and just steps from Louisville’s Waterfront Park, this blooming 23-acre, $60 million dollar project has completely revitalized what was once a previous landfill into a flourishing community garden. The early phase encompassed the first building on the site, The Graeser Family Education Center - with large, flexible space able to host a range of activities. This phase also features expansion of the plaza surrounding the center, a fountain and creek pathway with waterfall stream along with a 6,000 square foot classroom building. Additional phases include adding a Japanese Garden and creek overlook along with a visitor’s center, children’s garden and conservatory.
WATERFRONT PARK PHASE IV
A $35 million-dollar conceptual project, aiming to expand Waterfront Park west of 10th Street will provide a continuation of open space along the Ohio River and the prospect for new experiences and activities for those living in the Portland and West Louisville neighborhoods. The RiverWalk from the downtown wharf to and alongside Phase IV will be improved to provide a vital pedestrian/bicycle east-west connection and a continuum of the Waterfront Park experience. The Phase IV site is rich in history and opportunity, which is reflected in the plan. The first three phases of Waterfront Park total 85-acres and is an invaluable community asset.
NEW HOTELS UNDER CONSTRUCTION
- Tempo by Hilton (130 rooms, opening Spring 2024)
- Canopy Derby City Hotel (168 rooms, opening Spring 2024)
- Hampton Inn & Suites, Oxmoor (111 rooms, opening 2024)
Recently Completed Projects:
DERBY CITY GAMING DOWNTOWN
Churchill Downs Inc. opened a $6.4 million dollar, 43,000-square-foot entertainment venue - situated just diagonal to the downtown convention center, which offers 500 historical racing machines as well as a fresh-air gaming area. Additionally, three unique bar concepts are housed on-site, including a main-level sports bar with a stage for music and live entertainment, a premium bourbon library and an elegant wine and charcuterie lounge. A retail and merchandise store is located at street level where guests can shop for Kentucky Derby-themed merchandise year-round. Opened December 6, 2023.
BARDSTOWN BOURBON CO. BRAND EXPERIENCE
Bardstown Bourbon Co. opened a new "brand experience" at 730 W. Main St. in October 2023. The Louisville expansion of the Bardstown-based distiller includes a full-service bar and lounge, a bottle shop and a classroom space to educate guests on the company's "modern and technically advanced" approach to its spirits. They are also expected to host limited and rare bottle releases and intimate tastings.
The Myriad Hotel is a new boutique hotel in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. Once an old disco ball factory, the hotel offers a variety of amenities, including a restaurant, pool, and bar. It is also within walking distance of many shops, bars, and restaurants.
BUZZARD'S ROOST MICRODISTILLERY
Buzzard's Roost Spirits is the brainchild of Judith Hollis Jones and Jason Brauner, two veteran food and beverage professionals. The microdistillery, which opened at 624 W. Main St., on Louisville's downtown Whiskey Row, produces between five and seven barrels weekly.
HAYMARKET AT ASHBOURNE FARMS
A new 6,000-square-foot market located on River Road near Zorn Avenue opened June 14, 2023. The Haymarket features an on-site urban garden and sells fresh produce, bakery products, grab-and-go foods and meat. There is also an outdoor area for garden products and seasonal holiday items. Ashbourne Farms was founded in La Grange, Kentucky in 1937. .
Right in NuLu, Hotel Genevieve melds new architecture with considered touches that reference the city’s one-of-a-kind history. The hotel features an all-day ground-floor restaurant, Rosettes, a rooftop bar and lounge with expansive city views, vibrant mini market, and intimate secret bar.
A $28 million-dollar mixed-use development project has now been completed. Paristown, which opened in 2019 and sits only two miles from the center of downtown is an arts & culture hub anchored by The Café (a relocated longstanding breakfast and lunch spot), Louisville Stoneware (handcrafted pottery since 1815) ,Old Forester Paristown Hall, a 28,000 square foot performing arts venue which sits alongside Christy’s Garden, a multi-use greenspace and outdoor venue. The recent expansion included The Village Market, a modern food hall and bar driven by several local restaurants.
Topgolf recently opened in Louisville's East End area. This popular entertainment attraction attracts both locals and visitors to the 65,000-square-foot facility. The three-story venue cost nearly $19 million and has the capacity to host close to 1,440 people, with options for food and drink service during player games. Currently the closest Topgolf locations to Louisville are in Nashville, Tennessee; Fishers, Indiana; and West Chester Township, Ohio.