At a city commission meeting Tuesday, commissioners will vote on a municipal order to enter into an incentive agreement with Riverfront Brio, LLC, developer of the new hotel-apartment building in downtown Owensboro. The agreement is aimed to secure both the hotel and apartment complex as well as no less than a 400-space parking infrastructure to support the Owensboro Convention Center and other downtown economic development.
The $4.6 million incentive from the City, Watson said, will come from excess funding from the parking garage, a project that came in under budget.
The City’s incentive will be reimbursed through all Tax Increment Financing revenues that Riverfront Brio, LLC would have otherwise been entitled to recoup for its public infrastructure costs incurred on the property.
“From a financial standpoint, our TIF won’t be very effective without this project,” Watson said. “If this project had not come to fruition, we would be in a whole lot more trouble than we could imagine, just from the fact that we have a tremendous amount of debt in building all of [downtown].”
Watson said parking has been the greatest problem in downtown development, with the cost of a single parking space estimated to be $16,500.
“You can buy land, for an exorbitant amount of money in this community or you can participate in a project like this where you don’t have to buy land,” he said. “The price of the parking spot is the same, so you maximize your dollars considerably.”
Watson said parking is what makes this project viable, saying that future tenants don’t want to walk in harsh weather conditions or carry their groceries long distance.
Jack Wells, development partner of Gulfstream’s Matt Hayden, said the city’s need for parking is why this will be a joint private-public effort, pulling these projects together.
“There is only so much land in downtown Owensboro and to utilize that land best as possible without spending another $3 million on the next block over and building another parking structure,” Wells said, explaining that parking is the reason the future structure will be built so tall.
“The whole idea is to come together as a community,” Watson said. “The developers, the taxpayers, the local government. This is what it’s about — everyone kicking in for the betterment of our community.”