The Bellwether Hotel to Open Soon in Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky – After sitting vacant for decades, two slowly decaying abandoned properties in the historic heart of the Highlands are coming back to life.
There are times when in order to find something new and exciting, we need to really look back on our past.
Several months after the restoration process began, abandoned two-century-old properties were given a facelift thanks to Ben Botkins, co-owner of the Bellwether Hotel.
“They’ve been here for a century, we’re just the keepers and stuarts now and we respect their history.
Botkins, his wife and friends purchased the old police station building and Old Bellsouth switching station in 2019.
Now, these visionaries have transformed the two adjacent buildings into a 20-unit apartment-style hotel and restaurant.
“When you love the neighborhood, when you love the hallway, you love old buildings and you want to share that with the people who visit,” Botkins explains.
So why buy old buildings and spend so much time restoring them? For Botkins, it boils down to nostalgia.
“People have been here twice since I’ve been alive and have stories about these buildings going back to the 1950s, so they mean a lot, they connect neighborhoods,” Botkins said.
The revival of historic buildings has skipped their original timeline due to the pandemic, but he says they are committed to restoring the site.
“Shortages of materials, shortages of manpower, it’s been a lot of curvy balls. It took longer than expected, but we didn’t want to rush, we want to get it right,” adds Botkins.
Since then, enthusiastic residents and people from across the community have watched the transformation unfold from the streets, including Mary Zickel.
“It’s just a nice building, obviously I’ve never been there and there are a lot of architectural details and I’m really curious to see what it looked like inside and they did a great job”, explains ZIckel
Now the owners of the Bellwether Hotel are hopeful that others see the potential to extend the life of other older buildings in the future.
“We hope this will spark a modern resurgence of Bardstown Road and the Highlands,” Botkins said.
And if the trend continues, the father-of-two believes the winners are not just the investor, but the city and the community as a whole.
“This is what it could be, this is what it can be, and if we work together we bring modern streets to Bardstown Road to slow cars down and make it less chaotic,” suggests Botkins.
Visitors can start making reservations on October 15. The owners say the restaurant will open in early 2022.