Lewis Honors College Capstone Collection

Year of Publication





Interior Design

Degree Name

B.A. in Interior Design & Business Management

First Capstone/Thesis Advisor

Dr. Joseph Rey-Barreau


The building, named Gabe’s Tower after owner and public figure Gabe Fiorella, was once an icon of Owensboro. Unfortunately, due to population growth southward and the opening of a rival hotel downtown (The Executive Inn), Gabe’s Tower was unable to remain open. It has since undergone many different ownerships, each of which have struggled to remain profitable. The building has remained vacant for years and therefore has been subjected to becoming a location for crime. This has produced a very negative image for the building and the surrounding area. This negative image drives the purpose of this project. Through the revitalization efforts, this project will work to reverse this negative image and promote economic growth. These are two goals that must remain at the forefront of this project to enable its success.

The project will aim to revitalize and re-design Gabe’s Tower into a multi-use structure that promotes the following goals: create a safe and welcoming environment; immerse occupants in the rich history; and provide opportunities for growth in the community.

Despite the building’s negative image, there is large community support for the restoration of this building. The project will highlight design concepts originally enacted by Gabe himself and also highlight the overall culture and atmosphere that is unique to Owensboro. The project will expand on the original functions of the building to become a multi-use structure that will provide opportunities to remain profitable even in low demand seasons. By developing Gabe’s Tower into a multi-use structure, the community will be enabled to be involved and experience this icon once again. The project will examine many aspects of hospitality design to develop the best solution for revitalization. The project will program spaces of design opportunities for each floor of Gabe’s Tower, but emphasis will be placed on the restaurant level.