Arena Chairman Jim Host meets with reporters following a meeting in which he announced that financing had been secured for the new downtown Louisville basketball arena at a minimum cost to taxpayers of more than $103 million less than original estimates.
Unless a major national economic catastrophe happens between now and next Wednesday, the Downtown Louisville Basketball Arena project will happen, and at costs significantly below original estimates.
That was the word this morning from Jim Host, chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority, in announcing that financing agreements will be signed with Goldman Sachs & Company on Sept. 3. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not going to say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s over until itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s over but we have a very good feeling this time,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that nothing happens in the financial markets.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The total cost of the arena will be $238 million, according to Mortenson Construction, which had originally submitted costs projected at more than $254 million.Ã‚Â The cost to local taxpayers will be $206 million Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as compared to the original estimate of $309 million.
Sharing HostÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s optimism was Jim King, president of the Louisville Metro Council. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This arena is going to happen,Ã¢â‚¬Â he declared. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The cost is well within the parameters the Metro Council has seen and approved.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Board member Dan Ulmer, also retired president of Citizen Fidelity Bank & Trust,Ã‚Â noted that Mortenson and the HOC design team had made some changes in the arena design in recent weeks which provided major savings for the project without sacrificing quality. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We owe both of these companies a huge debt of thanks for their efforts,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Host concluded that the guaranteed revenue sources from the state and the cityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tax incremental financing (TIF) district separated the arena from other construction projects affected by the current downturn in the economy.