|By Keith Lawrence, Messenger-Inquirer,
Owensboro, Ky.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 14, 2013--The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved Wednesday up to $3.535 million in incentives for Riverfront Hotel Associates LP to build a five-story Holiday Inn on Owensboro's riverfront just west of the new Owensboro Convention Center.
Todd Cassidy, the agency's director for economic & community development, said the hotel will be able to keep up to that much of the sales tax it generates during the next 10 years.
If it generates less sales tax, the total the hotel receives will be lower, he said.
The $14.61-million hotel will create 100 full-time equivalent jobs, its application said.
By its fourth year of operations, the hotel expects to draw 54 percent of its customers from outside Kentucky.
Cassidy said the Holiday Inn qualified for the incentives because it will be attached to the Owensboro Convention Center.
The hotel won't be connected to the convention center by a skywalk, but it will be connected by sidewalks.
The $20 million Hampton Inn & Suites on the east side of the convention center was approved for similar incentives in 2011, Cassidy said.
He said the state is seeing an influx in applications for rebates for hotels, a sign that the economy is improving. But hotels have to meet certain criteria, such as being attached to a convention center, to qualify for the incentives, Cassidy said.
Claude Bacon , vice president of e-commerce, sales and administration at LinGate Hospitality, Riverfront's parent company, said earlier that the Holiday Inn will have 120 rooms -- 10 of them suites -- and feature "some unique things that will make it a destination."
Wednesday he said, "We're excited about the approval of the incentives and very grateful that we live in a state that offers such incentives."
LinGate hopes to break ground on the hotel this spring and open it roughly 14 months later, Bacon said.
"We still have a few more things to put in place before we break ground," he said.
The concrete-and-steel structure will include a lounge, restaurant, indoor pool, fitness center and patio with fire pits overlooking the river, Bacon said earlier.
Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, firstname.lastname@example.org
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