(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - A Fall 2013 opening is being eyed for the new downtown Lawrenceburg event center.
The $40 million, 220,000 square foot building will include hotel rooms, event space, and restaurants overlooking the Ohio River. City officials are hoping the center will lead a revitalization of the downtown district.
Project manager Tim Jensen with Veridus Group gave an update of the planning and soon-to begin construction during the annual meeting of Lawrenceburg Main Street, Inc. on Wednesday.
“We hope to be breaking ground in the very first part of June. You’ll start to see a lot of activity out there very soon,” Jensen said, adding the first bids on the project will go out next week.
No dirt has been moved at the event center site since the ceremonial groundbreaking in October. Veritas and the city are close to obtaining needed permissions from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Lawrenceburg Conservancy District, and others. Veritas is also working with business and property owners adjacent to the site to prepare them for a new six-story neighbor.
As part of an agreement with the city, Hollywood Casino parent company Penn National Gaming will take ownership and operate the event center when it is complete.
“I can’t dream of better partners, to be honest with you, than the city and the people of Lawrenceburg” said casino director of operations Ahmed Ahmed said.
To ensure the center is a success, Hollywood is trying to have the center booked out with conventions and events two years in advance by the time it opens.
“We’ve began selling this convention center already. We have requests for proposals submitted to us. We’re making deals in 2013 and 2014 to bring in nice-sized conventions to the area,” Ahmed told the audience.
The conventions considering the new event center are community-friendly, Ahmed said.
Jensen said local construction-related businesses have the opportunity to get involved with the event center. There will be a meeting at the Lawrenceburg Public Library on April 30 at 6:00 p.m.
“(City of Lawrenceburg construction manager) Mario (Todd) and (city redevelopment director) Grant (Hughes) have extensively reviewed the bidders list and we are continually adding local businesses and companies onto it,” Jensen said.
One audience member asked if there are plans to build a parking garage with the complex. Jensen said current plans do not include a garage, but preparations for the increased traffic are being made.
“The city is currently talking to Ivy Tech, Partners in Health and Hollywood who are currently using part of this (riverfront) garage. You’ll see the construction work the city is doing right now in paving some of the gravel lots. All of this is in preparation of getting an accurate number of parking spaces,” said Jensen.