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Financial Worries Prompt Developers to Scrap Futuristic Skyscraper Plans

Wed August 17, 2011 - Midwest Edition
CEG



LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Developers are scrapping plans to build a futuristic skyscraper in downtown Louisville because of financial concerns.

A letter making the announcement was to be sent Aug. 1 to Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, according to The Courier-Journal. It was signed by the development team of Laura Lee Brown, Steve Wilson, Craig Greenberg and Steve Poe.

The letter said the team pursued several financing options for Museum Plaza, but was unsuccessful in putting together a viable package due to the “challenging lending market.” It advised the state to withdraw an application it made to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a loan.

“We were realistic, yet undaunted, as we pursued many financing options. A completed financing plan seemed within reach, but even with all of the help from the public sector, in the end, we were not able to put together a sensible financing package,” the statement read.

Work had stopped on the proposed 62-story building more than three years ago.

Fischer called the announcement unfortunate, but commended the development team for their creativity and “entrepreneurial attitude” and said he looks forward to working with them again.

The project was estimated to cost $465 million and even if HUD had approved a loan, the developers still would have needed a $140.5 million construction loan.

The idea was conceived in 2005, and won praise for its new vision for Louisville’s skyline. The building’s design, which also attracted critics, resembled an upside-down, three-legged chair.

The proposal called for a museum, two hotels, condominiums and office space along with improvements to sidewalks and a parking garage.

Both the city and the state had agreed to help with the project. The state offered a 30-year taxing district that would allow most of the taxes generated by the structure to pay for improvements to infrastructure. Metro officials approved issuing $45 million in bonds for public improvements.