"We will be open before the end of 2015," Greenberg said.
The project will cost more than
"We're as excited as ever about this project and truly committed, because of the location, because of the building, and because of what is going on in downtown Lexington and for the opportunity to be a part and a catalyst for continued revitalization for downtown Lexington," Greenberg said. "Lexington is a challenging market; there's significant risk in this project. It is not the strongest of hotel markets at this time. But, still, we embrace this challenge and we're excited by the opportunity."
Greenberg said the project will be paid for in part by more than
The loan package includes
The loan likely will come up for final spending approval next month.
Although everyone on the council expressed support for the project, some members raised concerns about spending
The loan will come from a kind of HUD program that the city has never used before. To ease concerns that Lexington taxpayers would have to make good on the loan if problems arise, Greenberg said that his group has agreed to give the loan a higher priority for repayment, should the project fall apart.
Greenberg also said that collateral has been put up, along with personal guarantees from owners and himself, so that in a worst-case scenario the city loan would be paid off by foreclosure.
"I'm confident the council is going to approve this at its next meeting," Greenberg said afterward. "The city is very well-protected in this loan and has a very strong collateral position."
Several council members expressed their support for the project, which will renovate a 100-year-old landmark building, Lexington's first skyscraper, designed by renowned architects McKim, Mead & White.
"We view ourselves as a true community cultural center," Greenberg said.
The acclaimed 21c hotels display modern art from the collection of Wilson and Brown as well as art on loan from other museums.
"What you're bringing to us is a tremendous opportunity," said councilman
The tall, narrow building has proven "a lot more challenging" to design than 21c's other projects (this will be the fifth, with two more planned for
Each floor will hold only six or seven hotel rooms, which will book for a projected average rate of
One question remains: 21c has requested
"We are the eternal optimists," he said.
The entire hotel project will be funded by
The tax incentives include a special
The hotel's construction is estimated to create about 200 jobs to be paid at prevailing wage (a higher standard mandated by the HUD loan), and 125 permanent full-time jobs once built.
Greenberg said that the company has put over
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