Dates set for new buildings near WKU campus

Interest from a new hotel developer and a project timeline near WKU’s campus are some major developments for the Tax Increment Financing district this summer.

Bowling Green has until 2014 to get another $42 million in investments in the area.

The TIF district, which spans from WKU’s campus to the Barren River, was created in 2007 to revive downtown by giving tax incentives to new businesses that open there. If the district reaches $150 million in investment by 2014, the state will grant an 80 percent tax reimbursement.

A $10 million hotel is planned to be one of the biggest projects in Block 12, which is near WKU’s campus.

Last spring Louisville hotelier Chester Musselman showed interest in investing in the hotel but never committed to the project. Now Ferguson Hotel Development LLC is interested in the project and is currently surveying and testing the property.

Other planned projects for Block 12 – roughly bound by Kentucky and Center streets and 13th and 14th avenues – include a conference/alumni center, WKU police headquarters, upperclassmen student housing and a few others.

WKU’s Student Life Foundation is planning to invest $7.2 million in Block 12 for student apartments, but President Gary Ransdell said WKU would be signing 30-year leases to use some of the buildings.

“We won’t own any of them,” Ransdell said. “But we will lease them long-term.”

About $63 million has already been invested into the TIF district, and the current plans for Block 12 would contribute another $45 million, according to Kevin Brooks, attorney for the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority.