Yarmuth 'optimistic' Museum Plaza will get federal funding - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Yarmuth 'optimistic' Museum Plaza will get federal funding

The view Museum Plaza occupants would see The view Museum Plaza occupants would see
Craig Greenburg Craig Greenburg
Proposed site for Museum Plaza Proposed site for Museum Plaza
Visualization of what Museum Plaza would look like when complete Visualization of what Museum Plaza would look like when complete

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - What was billed as one of the four most important architectural projects in the world has put on hold for years - until now. There may be new life for Museum Plaza now that Rep. John Yarmuth says the federal government could get involved to help.

Building Museum Plaza would be a major project for Louisville, providing an estimated 4,500 construction jobs and 2,300 permanent jobs, but it has been stalled for more than two years because of financial problems.

"This is our sales center that really has mockups of what the residential condominiums will look like," said Craig Greenburg, one of the development partners hoping to get Museum Plaza off the ground.

If all had gone according to schedule Greenburg would have been giving a tour of the real thing, but instead he had to show off a model of what the building could look like inside.

"These are actual views from what you'll see from your windows in Museum Plaza's residence," said Greenburg, using model condo to demonstrate. "Here we are on about the 40th floor in the east tower."

Museum Plaza was supposed to fill the Louisville skyline with condos, office space, hotel rooms, and retail stores, but construction stopped in 2008 soon after it started..

"Putting together all of those financing sources at the same time in this extremely challenging time is difficult," said Greenburg.

Good news for the project's future came in a letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent to Louisville Rep. John Yarmuth. HUD assistant secretary Mercedes Marquez said they were "optimistic" they could provide a $100 million loan guarantee to help get things going.

"The odds are substantially better now that this indication from HUD has come down," said Yarmuth. "They would not have sent me the letter, if they were not very optimistic that this would work out."

To get the project moving again, developers still need to put together another $140 million for construction loans - which depends on the HUD money - but Greenburg is "very confident" they can do it.

"We are extremely excited, but we also know there's a lot of work still ahead of us," said Greenburg. "So we're committed and more determined than ever to get the financing complete."

Greenburg also said the project would have cost more than $490 million two years ago, but is expected to cost only $465 million now because there are less projects going on and commodities less expensive.

Yarmuth says he's optimistic if they get the financing straightened out quickly that construction could start within the first half of 2011.

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