21c doesn’t do anything conventionally. Our very first year was an experiment of making the impossible possible. Stephen J. Bronner of Entrepreneur.com spoke with 21c Museum Hotels president, Craig Greenberg about the brand story and how dedication to the unexpected shaped who we are today.
“21c, short for 21st century, opened its first location in Louisville, Ky., in 2006. Its founders, husband and wife Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, are contemporary art enthusiasts who wanted to share their collection with the local community of their home city while revitalizing the downtown area. They purchased five mostly vacant buildings that had been tobacco and bourbon warehouses in the 19th century, and they combined and converted them into a 90-room hotel with a museum and restaurant.
‘None of us were from the hotel industry, but off we went with a lot of people thinking that we were crazy and this couldn’t work,’ says Greenberg, who was the couple’s attorney at the time. ‘But quite the opposite happened, and people really loved the experience that we had created.’ ”