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21c Museum Hotel Coming to Downtown Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Lexington’s original skyscraper will be transformed into a contemporary art museum and hotel. City leaders and officials with 21c Museum Hotels unveiled plans this morning for the historic Fayette National Bank Building.

CEO Steve Wilson says 21c has found success with the museum-boutique hotel model because the contemporary art at the venues is meant for everyone, including those who aren’t art experts.

“I call it hit-and-run art because we put art in a public space where they don’t necessarily expect to see art. They react with it and love it.”

21c opened its first hotel and art museum in old warehouses in Louisville and now has projects underway in Cincinnati and Bentonville, Arkansas.

Wilson says he’s excited about the Lexington project, which will have its own unique character. The Fayette National Bank Building was constructed a century ago and stands 15 stories tall.

Located on Main Street next to the old courthouse, the 21c Lexington project is across from the CentrePointe block, which also has plans for a hotel and gallery space.

“CentrePointe did not factor into the decision in any kind of negative way at all. We’re very happy to be where we are,” says Wilson.

The company will seek federal loans and historic preservation tax credits to help finance the $38 million project. Construction at the old Fayette National Bank building could start by the end of the year and be completed in 2014.

Lexington native Brenna Angel anchored local morning newscasts for WUKY through May 13. She joined the station in March 2010 after previously working for WHAS-AM in Louisville.