Omni Hotel deal might go to Metro Council on Thursday - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Omni Hotel deal might go to Metro Council on Thursday

Updated: Dec 10, 2014 08:00 AM
The "Water Co. block", site of planned Omni hotel The "Water Co. block", site of planned Omni hotel
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announces Omni hotel in March 2014 Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announces Omni hotel in March 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mayor Greg Fischer's administration is working to finalize a deal with Omni Hotels and the Cordish Co. to build a 600-room hotel, upscale grocery store and 200-unit apartment complex downtown.

Three items related to the Omni/Cordish development are on the tentative agenda for the Metro Council's meeting on Thursday, including authorization for Metro government to issue bonds to raise money to help build the hotel and for the Parking Authority of River City to raise funds for a parking garage for the development.

The $261 million development – planned for the Metro-owned block between Second Street, Third Street, Liberty Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard – was announced in March.

But the city, Omni and Cordish still need to work out a lot of details before work can begin as scheduled next year. Fischer told WDRB.com in late October that city officials were addressing the "very last details" of the agreement and that a deal needed to be finalized by the end of the year.

“We will be discussing details in the coming few days,” said Chris Poynter, Fischer's spokesman, on Tuesday. He declined further comment.

There are placeholders for three ordinances related to the project on the council's agenda for Thursday's meeting, but the council has not yet received copies of the ordinances themselves from the Jefferson County Attorney's Office, according to the agenda.

Metro Council President Jim King, a co-sponsor of the Omni project ordinances, told fellow council Democrats last week that the council and Fischer's staff were working on the project's development agreement.

“That project is continuing to move forward," King said.

As WDRB reported in March, the initial agreement calls for Metro government to issue about $104 million in debt, including financing costs, to raise $90.5 million for construction of the hotel.

While the city is ultimately on the hook for repaying those bonds, the plan is to cover the debt with new sales, property and employee income taxes generated over 30 years by the development.

Under so-called “tax increment financing,” a portion of the annual increase in tax revenue is set aside for repaying the construction debt, rather than going into the government coffers. There won't be any new taxes levied.

Metro government's other contributions to the project include the land – worth about $17 million – which the city purchased years ago and a $17 million parking garage built by PARC, a Metro government agency.

Omni would build and operate the hotel, while Cordish – owner of 4th Street Live – would develop the grocery store and luxury apartment portion of the project.

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WDRB.com reporter Marcus Green contributed to this story.

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