AccorHotels has signed
an agreement to acquire 85% of 21c Museum Hotels, an award-winning
hospitality management company pushing the boundaries of the
museum and hotel worlds to create a new kind of travel experience.
21c combines a multi-venue contemporary art museum, boutique
hotels and chef-driven restaurants, with 11 properties currently
open and under development across the United States.
Hotels was founded in 2006 in Louisville by philanthropists and
contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. The
pair had seen the region’s farmland and rural landscapes fall to
development while the historic buildings of Louisville’s downtown
sat vacant. Inspired by the idea that art can ignite urban
revitalization and catalyze civic connection, Brown and Wilson
rehabilitated a series of 19th century warehouses in Louisville’s
downtown arts and theater district to open the first 21c Museum
The success of the Louisville flagship created
opportunities for expansion; today the company operates eight 21c
properties in Bentonville, Cincinnati, Durham, Kansas City,
Lexington, Louisville, Nashville and Oklahoma City, with 3 more in
development in Des Moines, Miami and Chicago.
21c Museum is one of
the largest contemporary art museums in the United States, and
North America’s only collecting museum dedicated solely to art of
the 21st century. Open and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week, 21c’s exhibitions and programs are free to the public. Each
property remains an innovative union of genuine hospitality,
thoughtful design, artistic expression and culinary creativity.
21c Museum Hotels will join AccorHotels’ MGallery collection of
boutique hotels, marking the introduction of the MGallery brand
into the North American market.
This agreement will allow 21c Museum Hotels to
leverage AccorHotels’ global hospitality platform while
retaining its independent spirit. Co-founders Laura Lee Brown &
Steve Wilson will retain a 15% stake in the company, and will
remain closely involved in providing creative guidance and support
of the unique combination of art, design and hospitality that
defines the 21c experience. 21c Museum Hotels will continue to be
led by President & CEO Craig Greenberg. Corporate headquarters for
21c will remain in Louisville, Kentucky.
The purchase price for
the 85% stake is $51 million, including a potential earn out
payment. No real estate is included in this acquisition. The
transaction should be completed during the third quarter of 2018.
21c founder, Steve
Wilson, said, “AccorHotels is one of the world’s
leading hotel operators and will be a perfect partner and catalyst
for 21c’s continued growth. We are confident that the unique
spirit of 21c will not only be preserved, but will flourish within
the MGallery collection of boutique hotels. 21c will continue to
bring the work of today’s most dynamic and engaging contemporary
artists to the public, and this partnership will be a tremendous
boost for 21c’s continued development in North America and abroad.
We are extremely excited to see what the future holds.”
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