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Museum Plaza

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Legislators back bill that assists Museum Plaza (By Marcus Green, Courier-Journal [Louisville], February 10, 2007)

Rally backs Museum Plaza bill (Courier-Journal [Louisville], February 12, 2007)

Delegation backs Museum Plaza bill (By Sheldon S. Shafer, Courier-Journal [Louisville], February 13, 2007)

For the latter, all but one (out of 18) support the legislation! :thumbsup:

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Hotel group opposes Museum Plaza tax plan

This issue was just resolved not long ago. Now another group is coming up and whining about it, attempting to derail or stall the project for their own selfish benefit. :angry:

Article information: "Hotel group opposes Museum Plaza tax plan, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, Thursday, February 15, 2007"

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Committee approves Museum Plaza bill

The bill, to provide funding for work on public infrastructure using some hotel room taxes, was approved today by the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee. This now goes to the House.

Article information: "Committee approves Museum Plaza bill, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, Tuesday, February 27, 2007"

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Museum Plaza tax plan may face battle in House, Panel advances bill despite opposition

Here is the key:

House Bill 549 was overwhelmingly approved by the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee yesterday despite opposition from several hotel and tourism groups.

The bill's supporters, including Rep. Scott Brinkman, R-Louisville, and Rep. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, disputed claims by those groups that using the money for purposes other than tourism marketing would set a precedent. State law permits the room tax to be spent on facilities that attract tourists, Brinkman and Webb said.

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Museum Plaza bill OK'd by House

HB 549 passed by a 79-13 vote that would allow the state to provide funding for 1/4 of the Museum Plaza project. The going is that for every $1 spent from the state, $2-$3 will be returned in benefits. HB 549 now heads to the Senate where it is expected to pass.

Article information: "Museum Plaza bill OK'd by House, By Marcus Greenand Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, Friday, March 2, 2007"

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Groundbreaking set Sept. 27 for Museum Plaza tower

Key --

1. Groundbreaking for the 703-ft. Museum Plaza's construction will be September 27.

2. It will be completed in 2010.

3. Features include,

3a. 98 luxury condos

3b. 117 studio loft condos

3c. 270,400 sq. ft. of offices on 13 floors.

3d. 250-room Westin Hotel that has a ballroom, fitness center, spa, restaurant and bar/lounge

3e. 140,000 sq. ft. public plaza

3f. 20,000 sq. ft. of restaurants and shops

3g. 36,500 sq. ft. of studios for the U of L fine-arts program, a glass shop, and fine arts gallery

3h. 40,000 sq. ft. of contemporary art space

3i. 800-space parking garage

4. Over three years of construction, there will be ~560 workers on-site.

5. A 'string of shops' will be constructed behind the three facades that were saved at 615-621 W. Main Street -- providing an entryway over the floodwall into Museum Plaza.

Article information: "Groundbreaking set Sept. 27 for Museum Plaza tower, By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, Friday, April 20, 2007"

Edited by seicer
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Museum Plaza project OK, but some changes needed

More will be posted tomorrow.

Notes --

1. The Downtown Development Review Overlay board, which oversees the design of downtown projects, stated that Museum Plaza meets most of its guidelines for new construction. However, it is recommending a few small changes,

1a. A way to connect a public plaza to the Ohio River -- similar to how the Belvedere reaches the wharf at Fourth Street and River Road.

1b. Encourage public art on the site.

1c. Submit plans for signage, landscaping, exterior lighting and details on the four-story parking structure that will serve as the base of Museum Plaza.

2. The city landmarks committee has recommended that an obelisk at Fort Nelson Park (Seventh and Main streets) remain at its current location. They wanted to remove it to build a parkway that would lead to the public plaza. The obelisk marks certain distances to Fort Nelson -- the second fort built in Kentucky. It is located on the site of Museum Plaza.

Article information: "Museum Plaza project OK, but some changes needed, By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, May 23, 2007"

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Museum Plaza start is near

By Marcus Green, Courier-Journal, September 16, 2007

Developers of the Louisville Museum Plaza project will break ground on October 25, and plan on beginning construction soon after. Project officials still need state approval before work can begin, however.

The team behind the 62-story avant-garde tower will be opening a sales center at 707 W. Main St. next month, and will feature an artist's rendering of life-size views from the building's 25th floor. It will replicate a view from the contemporary arts center.

It will cost $490 million to build Museum Plaza, a 5% increase from an earlier $465 million estimate. Private investment, income from condominiums, a hotel and office tenants and a portion of future taxes will cover the increase in cost. A financing tool called tax increment financing would set aside a portion of new taxes generated at the site, including a share of hotel room taxes collected at the planned Westin, and would cover only public infrastructure improvements, such as a River Road extension and a nearby floodwall.

Museum Plaza officials originally thought that the taxing district would generate $130 million for public infrastructure improvements, but the application now asks for more. The tax increment financing still needs state approval. Once that is settled, bonds can be finalized and sold.

Tax increment financing does not establish new taxes or raise taxes within the district, and a portion of the new taxes generated above the amount now collected on the site will be used to pay off public infrastructure for 30 years.

The Museum Plaza project will be complete by late 2010. Developers have spent $18 million of their own money so far.

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Electrical towers will vanish: Change will aid Museum Plaza

By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, October 6, 2007

The trademark pair of electrical towers to the west of the Muhammad Ali Center will soon be removed. The two steel towers will be demolished and moved underground under a $16 million plan approved by Louisville Gas & Electric and the developers of the Museum Plaza skyscraper, which will be located adjacent to the electrical tower and Ali site.

LG&E and Museum Plaza will split the cost to move the towers' function to an underground unit just south of the terminal tower near River Road and Eighth Street. LG&E's share is a "small fraction" and the cost of the project will not be passed onto the customers.

Construction on the underground unit should begin in January and be finished in December 2008. After that, the terminal tower and transmission tower between Interstate 64 and the Ohio River north of 10th Street will be removed. The removal will allow Museum Plaza developers to extend a public park and promenade to Eighth Street, and remove a structure that would have risen above the plaza.

The new underground station would be linked with a substation being built at Third Street and River Road, and will allow LG&E to install more reliable equipment that requires less maintenance.

Museum Plaza, a 62-story, $490 million complex planned for River Road and Seventh Street, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on October 25. Before that date, however, the developers will need the state's approval on a plan to use a share of future tax revenues to pay for public infrastructure. Kentucky's tax increment finance commission gave initial approval to the Museum Plaza tax plan at a meeting last week, and project officials say they expect a follow-up meeting to occur the week of Oct. 15.

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Museum Plaza to start with flair

By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, October 21, 2007

Thursday is the day, when developers of the Museum Plaza skyscraper will break ground on the 703-feet 62-story tower.

The first 500 attending will receive free barbecue and commemorative hard hats. A helicopter hovering 703 feet above the street will beam live footage to screens on the ground, offering a glimpse of views from a height equivalent to the skyscraper's top floor. The University of Louisville

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Construction to begin on skyscraper that will dominate skyline

By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press Writer, October 24, 2007

Groundbreaking for the flamboyant 62-story Museum Plaza skyscraper will be held tomorrow. Forget the typical ceremony where dignitaries dig up bits of soil: this one will feature a 20-foot-long, 400-pound shovel hanging from a 200-foot crane that will drop into a pile of dirt.

The $490 million, 700+-foot skyscraper will dominate the city's skyline, and feature a trio of towers and glass elevators operating at an angle that will shuttle people to a 25th-floor lobby that will serve as a main entrance to a contemporary arts center, 260-room hotel and restaurants. It will also contain retail stores, 97 luxury condominiums, 65 loft condominiums, offices and the University of Louisville's master of fine arts program. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2010.

"Museum Plaza's avant-garde design will make it an instant landmark," said Mayor Jerry Abramson, who is scheduled to attend the groundbreaking along with Gov. Ernie Fletcher. "It's a dream come true," said Steve Wilson, who is developing the skyscraper with his wife, Laura Lee Brown, attorney Craig Greenberg and businessman Steve Poe.

The financing plan for the project includes using a portion of new taxes generated that would be rebated to the developers. The tax revenue would finance up to $150 million in public project improvements, including a new park, a parking structure, floodwalls, and minor street realignments. The remainder of the costs would be covered through bonds and private sources, and income from the condos, hotel and office tenants.

There are currently $5 billion worth of projects under way or about to start across the city, including $2.1 billion in downtown alone. Some downtown projects include a $252 million, 22,000-seat arena, expansion of Fourth Street Live!, and a new retail and commercial district near the arena.

Museum Plaza will be the first skyscraper built in Louisville since the 35-story Aegon Tower opened in 1993.

Some were not pleased with the building's radical design, however. One critic stated that his children had built similar designs with Legos, but urban design expert Patrick Piuma predicted that most skeptics will be won over just as they were with the Humana building with its pink granite exterior.

"If it was just going to be another big cube that they put up, it wouldn't be worth anybody's attention," said Piuma, director of the Urban Design Studio, a joint project of the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky and Louisville metro government that's designed to promote smart growth and good design. Piuma said the new skyscraper will be an attention-grabber.

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Museum Plaza will radically change the perception of the Louisville and become an instant landmark structure not only for the city and Commonwealth of Kentucky, but perhaps even for US to certian degree in terms of its uniqueness and architectural impact. It's sort of like the Arch in St. Louis, its a bold divergence from the norm of what we expect to see predominant within a skyline, and a divergence from the norm in order to create something unique and lasting is not a bad thing - as I'm sure any citizen of St. Louis would agree was the case of the Arch in there city.

Gald this project is underway and survived all the hurdles (including the real estate downturn) to get off the ground and become a reality.

Congrats to Louisville. I can't wait to one day get to visit this building.

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