Rendering of the revamped Rupp Arena (Source: City of Lexington)
FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Lexington officials have scaled down their Rupp Arena expansion plans and are asking for more money from the state to move the project forward, Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday.
The city is asking the state to borrow $80 million, up from $65 million, to finance the arena renovation. In addition, Lexington will increase its own debt load in exchange for not raising the room tax at the city's hotels, Beshear said.
"The city is also going to do some value engineering, as they call it, to reduce the scope of the project slightly," said Beshear without providing details on what parts of the proposed $310 million renovation had been cut.
The latest proposal also relies on the city negotiating a 30-year lease with the University of Kentucky to continue using Rupp Arena, which hasn't been finalized.
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray has called a meeting with legislative leaders for later Monday to discuss the new financing proposal, Beshear said.
Lawmakers rejected Gray's first request, saying the financing didn't have enough certainty. They have until Tuesday to pass legislation providing a supplemental appropriation for the project.
The $80 million in proposed state borrowing would be greater than the $75 million lawmakers gave to the KFC Yum! Center project in Louisville several years ago. But the Rupp Arena expansion doesn't rely on tax-incremental financing, which has fallen short of expectations in Louisville.