Boutique Louisville sets record for convention business - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Louisville sets record for convention business

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The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience opens November 15, and it's one of four new distilleries that will call downtown Louisville home. The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience opens November 15, and it's one of four new distilleries that will call downtown Louisville home.
Jim Wood Jim Wood
Laura Cole Laura Cole
Rebecca Matheny Rebecca Matheny
The return of the FFA helped Louisville set a convention record and the FFA set it's own all time record here with nearly 63,000 attendees. The return of the FFA helped Louisville set a convention record and the FFA set it's own all time record here with nearly 63,000 attendees.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you live in Louisville you may never get a hotel room, but the city's newest hotel project will change the face of downtown. Wednesday, city leaders announced the aLOFT Boutique Hotel will open in 2015 on 1st and Main Streets.

The move to the River City is becoming a choice for many companies and conventions.

Jim Wood, President and CEO of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau says the city of Louisville set a record for convention attendance in October and believes it's just beginning.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Hip $22M hotel coming to downtown Louisville]

We caught up with the Kentucky Travel Industry Association who showed us a sneak peak of another new addition, the new Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Main Street. 

Laura Cole the President and CEO of the KTIA said of conventions, "They are really coming to the cities that offer more, they want more boutique cities."

If you boutique it, they will come. The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience opens November 15, and it's one of four new distilleries that will call downtown Louisville home, bringing thousands of out-of-towners to Louisville's section of the Bourbon Trail.

Rebecca Matheny, the interim Executive Director of the Louisville Downtown Partnership said, "Our downtown is so authentic, it is so uniquely Louisville and we have one of the strongest local food scenes in the entire country."

These unique attractions along with Museum Row are bringing more new conventions and bringing the old ones back.

"It was a great month for everyone," Wood said. The return of the FFA helped Louisville set a convention record and the FFA set it's own all time record here with nearly 63,000 attendees.  Wood said, "When you think about it, last year when they (FFA) were in Indianapolis, they set a record of 56,000 so you saw an amazing spike and growth from one year to the next."

The convention's original reason for leaving a lack of hotel rooms and restaurants is no longer a problem.

In the past couple of years, two major contributors have gotten people back downtown: The Waterfront Development projects including the Big Four Bridge and the KFC Yum! Center.

Both are scoring thousands of people who also try out restaurants and attractions.

It's part of the reason the new boutique hotel is investing $22 million across the street and why staples like the Brown Hotel, bustling with the Independent Insurance Agents Convention Wednesday night spent $4 million in renovations. The Hyatt Hotel invested $7 million and the Seelbach is in the middle of a $10 million renovation.

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