The big show started with this video from Bullhorn Marketing:
You can read the executive summary here (PDF) and Beverly Fortune’s rundown here.
All in all, it was a rehash of where we’ve already been, with Bates and crew again going through the plan as it exists.
[Read about the previous meetings here, see images of the redesign concepts here and here]
The Highlights come from the Executive Summary. There was little new information outside of it (though there were some new images, it seemed.) and almost all the new information comes in the financials (or, very preliminary financials) that come toward the end.
Here we go:
Transformation of the Lexington Center itself, including Rupp Arena, the Lexington Convention Center, the Civic Center Shoppes and immediate environs, is estimated as a $250 to $300mm project that catalyzes all other investment. This important project will require a mix of local, state and private funding for construction. Possible major funding sources include new revenue from premium seating, advertising, sponsorship, concert/event promotions, concessions and parking associated with proposed plans. It will also likely need local and state funding to create a new economic engine. Private fundraising and federal grants and tax credits should be fully explored. The plan also anticipates the establishment of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District to support needed infrastructure and civic facilities.
So the school, the arts place, the sports fields and everything else is outside that funding figure and goal (including Town Branch/Commons/Central Park). No surprise there.
Three year funding and design schedule:
2012: Organization, Business Plan, Survey/Environmental
2013: Concept Design/Engineering, Pre-Construction Estimation & Schedule
2014: Completion of Schematic Design, Confirmation of Construction Funding
If Beshear’s $3.5 Mil and Lex’s $1.5 Mil come through, they get spent like this:
If that $5 mil works out and the $250 to $300 Mil in overall funding for Arena, Convention and Shops is secured (or however much it turns out to be after schematic design alters cost and timeline) by 2014, then…
The construction schedule anticipates an approximate 3 ½-year construction period:
Site Work/Lexington Convention Center Construction (Spring, 2014 – Fall, 2016)
Rupp Arena, Town Branch Park Construction (Spring, 2015 – Summer, 2017)
New Rupp comes by 2017 at this most ambitious pace.
Here’re the 14 avenues of funding they will investigate:
There was quite a bit of talk about TIF financing and it is spread throughout the document. It would be the third Tax Increment area in Lexington joining the Distillery District and the Webb’s failed hotel project (which, if government actually functions, should be forced to go back through the TIF approval process since it’s now a different project… or a non-project).
TIF districts, especially for arenas, have come under increased scrutiny as the Yum! Center Arena district in Louisville is losing money, not generating what was projected (see here, here, here). It will be fascinating to see how the Rupp folks plan to accommodate for more realistic TIF projections.
As the Courier reported:
The taxing district “will become self-sufficient again when the economy recovers, but this is way too much risk for Louisville to have taken from the beginning,” said John Vrooman, a sports economist at Vanderbilt University. “This volatility should have been anticipated before the debt was issued.”
He said in an email that tax-increment financing is “very risky” for financing sports arenas and should not exceed 10 percent of the total debt. The tax plan makes up 35 percent of the KFC Yum! Center’s annual debt.
Also… it’s worth noting that the timeline proposed in this plan, which they admit is a best case, predicts a completed Rupp by 2017, while the University of Kentucky’s lease with the Lexington Center, re-upped in 2001, runs through the 2017-8 season. It’s unlikely UK would try to move at this point (but who knows what lurks in the hearts of the UK powerclass), but the projected timeline may not be purely coincidental.