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Metro Newsroom

Abramson: Council's Inaction May Derail Center City Project

Friday October 10, 2008

3,000 jobs, up to $435 Million investment at stake

Mayor Jerry Abramson said today that Metro Council’s inaction on the Center City project has the city’s partner, The Cordish Company, strongly reconsidering whether to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Louisville.

“The nation’s top downtown developer wants to invest between $200 million and $430 million in our city and create 3,000 construction and permanent jobs, yet the Metro Council has turned its back on them,” Abramson said. “This is a sad turn of events after more than two years of planning and partnership to bring this project to reality.”

Abramson made the comments following conversations with Cordish officials and receipt of a letter from Blake Cordish, the company’s vice president, which stated the company plans to focus its development efforts on other cities.

“Unfortunately, without the support of the Council, we have no choice but to turn our focus to other markets that desire our expertise and capital, and understand the dynamics of complex public private partnerships. We are fortunate, even in these trying economic times, to have a strong balance sheet and capital to invest in these kinds of projects,” the letter said.

“We had reserved and committed resources and cash to make Center City a reality in a financing market that demands enormous cash equity by the developer,” the letter continued. “We cannot hold these funds and resources for Center City any longer and reluctantly will move them to other opportunities. Continued negotiations with the City of Louisville do not make sense after over a year of good faith efforts by all sides has failed to produce an agreement. We sincerely wish the City every good luck in its revitalization efforts.”

Abramson said he’s hopeful to convince Cordish to reconsider and that it’s up to the Metro Council to decide whether to seal the project’s fate by continuing to hold up purchase of land need for the development to move forward.

“There were naysayers when we built Louisville Slugger Field – but it’s been a huge success. There were naysayers when we expanded the airport – but it’s been a huge success that has resulted in 21,000 jobs at UPS alone. And there were naysayers when we joined with Cordish to build Fourth Street Live – which now attracts between 4 and 5 million visitors a year,” Abramson said. “The Center City project comes with risk, as does every major economic development deal, but our development agreement protects taxpayers’ investment.”