LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A committee of the Metro Council unanimously approved three ordinances allowing the city to move forward with its portion of a proposed 30-story Omni Hotel and apartment building in downtown Louisville.

Despite general enthusiasm for the $289 million development, one council member pressed Mayor Greg Fischer's aides to explain why
the city had agreed to a $5.25 million payout to the Cordish Co. of Baltimore

Cordish has had development rights to the city-owned  block at 2nd and Liberty Streets since 2008, but the company never began construction and is now exiting the project with a payout from the city and Omni.

“So we are paying them to give us back the land that we gave them the permission to build on?...What's the $5 million value that Louisville got from Cordish?”
asked Councilman Kevin Kramer, a Republican

Jeff Mosley, Metro government's primary negotiator of the Omni deal, replied: “The value, Councilman Kramer, is that we are getting a private party to invest $150 million in our city. Cordish brought us Omni.”

Council members otherwise welcomed the development, thanking Omni's chief financial officer Mike Garcia and other officials with the Dallas-based hotel chain for their interest in Louisville.

The ordinances – one of which would allow Metro government to issue about $100 million in bonds to help build the hotel – now go to the full council after 10-0 approvals by the ad hoc budget committee.

City officials said work could start as soon as the fall.

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