Sketches show what the exterior of a future
event center in downtown Lawrenceburg
would look like.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – After more than a decade of proposals, talks, and planning, it looks as if the only thing left to do to bring a convention and event center to downtown Lawrenceburg is build it.
A groundbreaking for the project is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18 at 4:30 p.m. at the corner of Walnut and High streets, the location for a $49 million event center.
Last week, the city completed an agreement with Penn National Gaming, the parent company of Hollywood Casino, to build the center said Mayor Bill Cunningham.
“I can remember talks about this going back 12 or 13 years,” the mayor said. “Now it’s going to happen.”
The center would include an 18,000 square foot exhibition/concert hall, a 7,500 square foot ballroom, meeting space, 180 room hotel, and 150 seat restaurant.
The project will be funded by $25 million in grants towards the project which could create up to 100 permanent jobs, plus more temporary construction jobs. Penn National would receive a $14 million, 20 year loan at four percent interest, generating $6.6 million for the city over the life of the loan.
Because the center would be in a Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, district, the city will invest $10 million which will generate a return of $21 million over 20 years. Penn National, who will own and operate the center, will also chip in $1 million in equity.
Cunningham said the estimated completion date for the project appears to be in the first quarter of 2013, just in time to help Hollywood Casino cushion the impact of a casino in downtown Cincinnati which is currently under construction.
“The casino has had many requests to host conventions, but they don’t have room for that,” Cunningham said, adding the center also has the potential to spur new development in the downtown area.
“Naysayers might say that we can’t support six restaurants downtown, but with an event center and hotel hosting conventions during the week and gamblers on the weekends I know we can,” Cunningham said.
With all the local businesses that have come and gone, and more struggling to survive, Lawrenceburg Main Street director Pat Krider had been lobbying the city to make the event center a reality.
“We are excited. This has the potential to be an anchor for downtown,” she said. “The area will be more active after 5:00.”
Cunningham said there have been a lot of work put in to finalize the agreement. City officials, Penn National Gaming executives, designers, architects, and others have been participating in multiple meetings each week for the past 18 months.
“If you asked me six months ago I would have said it wouldn’t have happened, but things changed,” said the mayor.
At the Tuesday groundbreaking ceremony, Cunningham will be joined by Hollywood Casino general manager Joe Hasson, city leaders, economic development officials, and representatives from local business organizations. The public is invited and light refreshments will be served following the ceremony.