Ky. Fair Board still hoping to get hotel built on fairground pro - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ky. Fair Board still hoping to get hotel built on fairground property

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky State Fair Board is renewing attempts to build a hotel on fairground property.

The board unanimously approved plans to issue a 'Request for Information' (RFI) Thursday. The RFI will allow a variety of hotel developers to share their suggestions and recommendations with the board, before the proposed development is opened up to bids.

Twice in the last decade, the board has unsuccessfully sought proposals to build a luxury hotel near the south wing of the Expo Center.

Negotiations with one hotel group fell through as recently as last fall.

This will be the first time the process starts with an RFI.

"We want to be able to find out what do they see as demand, what do they see as opportunity, and what are they seeing as national trends," said fair board CEO Clifford "Rip" Rippetoe. "They may have more access to that than we would."

The proposal comes amidst a hotel boom in Louisville -- with six currently under construction downtown alone. Not to mention, the ten hotels that already surround the fair grounds.

But Rippetoe says a south wing hotel offers something the others can't--a walkway directly from hotel to Expo Center.

"Hotels that are directly connected to convention centers create an advantage in marketing," said Rippetoe, "It's all driving economic impact."

Rippetoe said he isn't deterred by failed attempts to get a hotel in the past.

"It boils down to timing," he said. "There are other cities that have been in this process for decades, so it's not unusual for us to be in the place right now when it comes to the development of a property."

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