Weyland Ventures to convert Paducah city block to hotel, retail
A Louisville-based development firm intends to convert a parking lot in the middle of downtown Paducah into a hospitality and retail destination.
This $21 million mixed-use development by Weyland Ventures aims to build a 70-room apartment complex, two or three restaurants, a rooftop bar and two adjacent parks, with an 80-room boutique hotel as their anchor point. The city plans to contribute $3 million to add a town square with green space, a promenade and replacement parking, reimbursed via the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.
“Because it’s not associated with a major brand, we can tailor each hotel that we do to the particular character and culture of the city that they’re in,” said Barry Albert, project manager for Weyland Ventures. “The project in Paducah really will be focused more on designs that are in sync with the artistic quality of the community and a lot of local retailers and restaurants.”
Weyland Ventures recently secured financial backing from Paducah Bank to begin the project, with groundbreaking slated for the spring. The firm has had its sights set on Paducah for some time because of its history, culture and location. The current site in particular was appealing for its proximity to downtown, Lower Town and the riverfront.
“It really has a lot more potential to serve as a connector and an activity generator for downtown,” Albert said. “The city has been very supportive in terms of working with us — figuring out what makes the most sense there — so we’re bullish about Paducah as a place to invest and to help them continue to grow their downtown.”
Yet Albert acknowledged there are some concerns surrounding the project. When it was announced two years ago, a group of residents who gathered across from city hall said downtown parking would be hampered, local businesses would face competition and the location would not attract conventions.
“We worked very closely with the city in terms of designing the public space, so it seems like more and more people are excited or anticipating this development,” he said. “We have had very strong support from the local business community, and it’s being financed by a local bank. We’re very grateful for that.”
Albert said his firm hopes to attract tourism to downtown Paducah and “enhance its reputation as an interesting urban place,” foreseeing many travelers stopping in Paducah off Interstate 24. The other amenities dotting the redeveloped city block are meant to appeal to residents year-round.
“Day in and day out, there’s going to be a lot of things for local people to do,” he said. “I think they’ll be happy to have more options in terms of how they enjoy themselves downtown.”
The entrance of Weyland Ventures into the community coincides with other projects by the city itself, including the upcoming construction of a riverboat dock to facilitate access to downtown.
“It really is a little gem of a community,” Albert said. “We believe this will be just the first of a number of investments we make in Paducah.”