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Hotel gains preliminary state approval

BY CORIANNE EGANcegan@paducahsun.com

A new downtown hotel in Paducah moved one step closer to reality Wednesday with the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority giving the project preliminary approval for state tax incentives.

The cabinet will begin today a two-month review of the project as the next part of its approval process.  

Developers and officials associated with the $19.5 million Paducah Convention Hotel will have meetings throughout the day in Paducah with Todd Cassidy, director of the Kentucky Department of Travel & Tourism Office of Financial Incentives and Tourism Development.  

Cassidy will meet with the core development group, then other area hoteliers, representatives from the Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Steve Doolittle, director of the Paducah Riverfront Development Authority. 

"Basically, we set up interviews for a full day to see how the hotel would impact the city from a variety of different viewpoints," Cassidy said

The project was granted preliminary approval at Wednesday's cabinet meeting, which opens the doors for a thorough review of whether the project meets the state's legal requirements for tourism tax incentives. Those requirements include meeting a minimum expenditure requirement, being open more than 100 days a year, attracting at least 25 percent of visitors from outside the state by its fourth year of operation and having a positive net economic impact on the Kentucky economy.

Paducah developers were eager to get the review started, Cassidy said, so he made the trip here shortly after Wednesday's board meeting to not lose any time. 

If the project gets final approval, the tax incentives will be performance-based. The cabinet allows incentives of up to 25 percent of a project's capital cost over a 10-year period.

"They build it, open doors, generate revenue and generate tax revenue, which we then pay back over a period of time," cabinet spokesman Gil Lawson said.

The City of Paducah agreed to front developers the total estimated amount of the incentives. That figure could reach $6 million.

The $19.2 million, six-story, 121-room riverfront hotel near the Julian Carroll Convention Center will include a restaurant that seats at least 50 that will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will also include a bar. The deadline for the hotel to open, as set in the city agreement, is June 1, 2015.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.

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