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Ideas sought for space near future hotel

BY CARRIE DILLARD cdillard@paducahsun.com

The Paducah Riverfront Development Authority seeks an architectural consultant to develop ideas for 6 to 7 acres of unused space near the future downtown hotel.

After the demolition of the Executive Inn, the city took ownership of 12 acres. With the construction of the $19.2 million Hilton Garden Inn, parking and an expansion of nearby Schultz Park, the city is left with a few acres in between with no identity, said Steve Doolittle, executive director of PRDA.

This area could simply be more parking, he said, but it could also be developed to connect the Julian Carroll Convention Center and hotel with the riverfront.

"If we're smart, we'll want to capture as much business as possible and help visitors seamlessly and easily move from the hotel and convention center to downtown where the restaurants, entertainment and shops are," Doolittle said.

Doolittle said the board has not chosen a firm, but hopes to have an architect by the end of the year.

"It's time to start planning what we need to do," he said. "The city will need to see designs and costs before it can move forward."

Doolittle said he hopes it can become a "safe, attractive and interesting" space between the riverfront and the convention center and downtown hotel.

"Nothing about the space right now is any of those things," he said. "We've got this gap in the middle."

The PRDA approved schematic plans last week for the Hilton Garden Inn to be built on the site of the Paducah Dome Pavilion, 600 N. Sixth St., adjacent to the convention center. A pedestrian skybridge will connect the hotel with the convention center.

With 121 rooms, a restaurant and outdoor patio, a bar, and meeting rooms, the hotel will need about 140 parking spaces.

Because there wasn't enough space at the site of the "Bubble," the city included property for parking as part of the incentives package.

According to Doolittle, the parking lot will be built behind the floodwall on city-owned property. An access door will be created through the floodwall.

With plans and finances  in place, the only thing that remains before the start of construction in the fall, Doolittle said, is an agreement between Senate Hospitality, one of the hotel project's partners, and the Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center Corp. regarding the operation of the convention center.

"And that's not an insignificant issue," Doolittle said.

Contact Carrie Dillard, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.  

Comments made about this article - 1 Total

posted on: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:56 PM

Title: Ms

I don't pay much attention to what's going on or what's talked about, so if this idea has been floated before, just ignore me.
Has Paducah tried to work with Brookport to develop Brookport's riverfront? In real estate, it's location, location, location. For riverfronts, it's view, view, view. If there's something interesting to view FROM the KY side, that will make it more interesting & saleable as well.

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