WAVE 3 News Editorial - December 8, 2016: Arena Default?

WAVE 3 News Editorial - December 8, 2016: Arena Default?
The KFC Yum! Center (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)
The KFC Yum! Center (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In four years, the KFC Yum! Center arena may default on bond payments. The main culprit is a nearly $34 million shortfall in revenue that was projected from Tax Increment Financing.

Weathering a recession and dealing with a two-year closing of the convention center certainly made the financial hole to dig out of worse.

Looming in 2029 are bond payments that nearly double each year from the current $21 million annually. What to do to survive until better days are ahead with a renovated convention center and new OMNI hotel?

  • Refinance existing debt.
  • Expand the TIF zone from two to six miles.
  • Remove the cap for TIF revenue generated.
  • Maintain Louisville's annual debt payments of $10.8 million.
  • Decrease the number of dark days at the arena from the current well over 200 a year to under 100.
  • Work with the Convention and Visitors Bureau to use the arena as a potential venue for conventions while the convention center is shut down.
  • Increase the per ticket facility fee.
  • Put rent fee increases on the table but realize UofL has a signed deal so be fair and creative with that option.

The KFC Yum! Center is considered one of the best venues in the country for a concert or sporting event. No one wins if it no longer operates.

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