Lexington city leaders are supporting a unique downtown hotel project to the tune of one million dollars. Council members decided Tuesday to spend the better part of an Urban Development Action Grant or UDAG money toward the 21c museum hotel project. One million dollars will be loaned to developers. Council member Julian Beard says the city will likely be asked to participate with more financial support.
“There will another ask of some sort. For how much, I’m not certain. It could be as high as six million, but it may be something less than that,” said Beard.
Beard, a one- time city economic development director, says the 21c hotel is proposed for a building close to his heart.
“It’s an iconic building that is being utilized. Happily, I started my banking career in that building. So, it’s a warm place in my heart to see that it’s not going to go to the wrecking ball,” added Beard.
The hotel is planned for the high rise First National Bank Building along Main Street. Beard says it’s a 32 million dollar project bringing with it 150 jobs plus an art museum and restaurant. It’s just a block away from the still-vacant space where the Centre Point development could one day stand. If that occurs, Council member Julian Beard says it would be quite a one-two economic punch.
“You know, we’re still going to be in a situation where Centre Point is still out there. If that ever gets resolved, one hand washes the other. It would be a huge, huge plus for downtown,” said Beard.
The Centre Point project calls for another high rise commercial development including housing, commercial, and office space. It’s been on hold as developers look to secure financing. The 21c Hotel project could be up and running in 2014.