Arena Authority tries again to raise construction money - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Arena Authority tries again to raise construction money

After two failed attempts to raise construction money, Louisville Arena Authority members know the doubters are talking again. 

Now, instead of money in the bank, the Arena Authority is starting from scratch as it tries again to raise construction money.  Members, who seemed a little subdued during today's meeting, recieved a pep talk from their leader.

Jim Host told members he was crushed by last week's events but is moving forward.

After months of work, it appeared bonds had been sold and construction money was a sure thing, until last minute questions were raised about the financial health of the bond insurer.

"Too much effort, too much at stake for this community and for this state for us to walk away at this point. That is not an alternative," said Host.  "We've had extensive conversations with a local group of banks led by PNC."

Host would not elaborate, but local banks may help get bonds sold. 

Metro Council President Jim King, who is himself a banker, says one approach could be for local banks to guarantee bonds through a letter of credit.  "The larger banks that have a national reputation and double a and triple a ratings.  In that situation, bondholders or investors would be willing to accept that letter of credit as their guarantee," said King.

The Arena Authority is still determined to turn this site into a new arena by the fall of 2010.  But, it turns out it isn't the end of the world if financing or other delays make that impossible. Under U of L's agreement with the Arena Authority, it will play an additional year at Freedom Hall if the arena is not completed by 2010.

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