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City of Owensboro, Kentucky Selling Downtown Lots for Hotel, Condos

LinGate Company to Begin Construction of Holiday Inn
with Up to 120 Rooms for a Mid-2014 Opening

By Steve Vied, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 02, 2012--In exchange for cash, improvements to public infrastructure and land valued at a total of $2.3 million, the city of Owensboro will transfer two downtown lots containing about four acres of the former Executive Inn property to local developers who plan to build a Holiday Inn hotel and a condominium project west of the Owensboro Convention Center.

The real estate deal is contained in a municipal order scheduled to be considered by the City Commission at its 5 p.m. meeting Tuesday at City Hall. Under the terms of the deal, developer Riverfront Jam, LLC will buy two side-by-side lots from the city, one containing 2.395 acres for the hotel and another one containing 1.631 acres for the condominium project. The hotel site is east of Elm Street and west of Walnut Street and 213 feet north of West First Street.

In exchange for this property, the city will receive $500,000 in cash, $1 million in the form of construction of public improvements, and $800,000 in the form of a transfer to the city of lots at 625 and 603 West Second Street, which are north of West Second and where the former Don Moore Chevrolet-Cadillac used car lot operated.

The city purchased the former Executive Inn Rivermont property for $5 million. Most of it is being used for the Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel and the convention center. In late March, developer Jack Wells of Riverfront Jam and other developers announced details of a $44 million downtown project involving public and private property. In addition to the Texas Gas building being built on the former Don Moore property, a four- to five-story Holiday Inn with up to 120 rooms overlooking the Ohio River, a condominium project and a marina were announced.

The Holiday Inn will sit immediately west of the convention center. The condominium project with an unknown number of residential units is planned for the site where the former Executive Inn Rivermont Racquet Club still stands, just west of the Holiday Inn site. Private developers are also interested in building an Ohio River marina near the condo complex.

The hotel will be built and operated by local company LinGate (Linmar Hospitality Group and Gateway Lodging Inc.), company CEO and founder Glenn Higdon said. A mid-2014 opening is planned for the hotel, Higdon said, with construction beginning next year.

Matt Hayden, who is developing Highland Pointe and Woodlands Plaza shopping centers on Kentucky 54, and Wells are working together on the downtown project.

Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne said the city's return on its original $5 million investment in the former Executive Inn property has been "phenomenal."

"We are getting 10 times that in private investment," Payne said. "And that is just part of it. We're getting two hotels and a residential component. My gosh, it's got to be the best investment the city has every made. The two hotels are $40 million, and then you factor in the tax revenue. The return on the investment is phenomenal."

In other business, the commission is set to consider approval of an ordinance that leaves the city's property tax rate unchanged at 25.93 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation. As part of the same ordinance, the personal property rate is set to drop from 29.05 cents per $100 worth of value to 27.13 cents. The other tax rate the city levies is for vehicles. It will remain the same, at 30.30 cents per $100 of assessed value, under the ordinance. A public hearing on tax rates is scheduled for 4:45 p.m.

Commissioners are also scheduled to vote on ordinances making changes to speed limits, one-way streets and truck routes in the downtown area. Another ordinance up for approval appropriates funds for the Owensboro Municipal Utilities operations and marketing study. The city's portion of the study is expected to cost no more than $175,000, with OMU paying the other half.

Steve Vied , 691-7297,


(c)2012 the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.)

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