Steve Wilson's Remarks at Today's Press Conference Announcing HUD Loan Application

Louisville, Ky, June 25, 2010 -

Thank you for joining us this morning.

It's been six years since we hosted the first community forum on our dream for downtown. And three years since we invited you to our groundbreaking event. Tragically, very shortly thereafter, the bottom fell out of the financial markets and financing became unavailable.

But, while we may have been publicly quiet... with the support of Governor Beshear, Mayor Abramson, Representative Larry Clark, Senator David Williams and many others, we never gave up hope - working quietly every single day to get this important project financed and under construction.

Today, our community is one step closer to achieving this goal.

None of the elected officials with us this morning and no one on the development team ever gave up on this project for the Commonwealth.

Now is the time to build Museum Plaza!

Our construction will create 4,500 prevailing wage construction jobs. Additionally, more than 2,300 people will work in Museum Plaza every day when it is completed. Museum Plaza will provide an immediate and strong economic stimulus across Kentucky.

Clearly, now is the time to build Museum Plaza!

The good news is that because of the downturn in the markets, this same building is projected to cost substantially less to build today than two years ago. And, since we have already moved the 10-story LG&E electrical tower - that stood right there - and the underground cables, the construction period will be several months shorter.

Indeed, now is the time to build Museum Plaza!

It is a well-known fact that Louisville's Downtown Class A office space is over 95% occupied. We need new, high quality office space. Museum Plaza will fill this need.

And, the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau forecasts a need for new, high-quality hotel rooms. Therefore, without changing the design of the exterior of the building, we have removed 90 residential condominiums from the project's original plan and will replace them with a second, limited service hotel to complement the full-service Westin. This change will generate more taxes for the City and State and will assist in the project's financing.

Now is the time to build Museum Plaza!

Thanks to the innovation and leadership of Governor Beshear, we have the opportunity to borrow money from the federal government to jump-start a local project and our local economy.

As the Governor mentioned, Laura Lee and I have provided significant safeguards to the state in connection with this loan, without which the project would remain delayed.

With this federal loan, we can complete our financing... get Museum Plaza back under construction... and create thousands of new jobs for Kentuckians.

I want to express our sincere gratitude to all of the state legislators - especially Larry Clark and David Williams - who enacted legislation which will help Museum Plaza get built, but also will allow many other important economic development projects across the state to become realities.

Thank you Mayor Abramson and thank you to all the members of the Metro Council who have been tireless advocates of Museum Plaza for many years - without their early support, this project could never be built.

Senator McConnell and Congressman Yarmuth have also supported this project from the very beginning and are helping us pursue the federal loan we're announcing today.

We are very grateful to many others who have done their part to get us here today.

The Governor's Chief of Staff, Adam Edelen, and Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes, are two of those people who have strongly supported this project.

And, a special thank you to our partners, Steve Poe... who never doubted even during the darkest of days, and Craig Greenberg... who is the most creative businessman I've ever met. It was Craig who convinced us all that this program could work for Museum Plaza, even though it had never been used
in Kentucky before.

You know... it has been said, "A great building must begin with a deep foundation." There are two people here today, who are the pillars of our foundation... Governor Beshear and my wife, Laura Lee Brown... Wilson.

I've known eleven Governors and worked closely with three. Governor Beshear has served during a more difficult economy than all the others and has been courageous in doing so.

Kentucky's favorite son, Abraham Lincoln, said, "Determine that the thing can... and shall be done... and then we shall find the way."

Like Lincoln, Governor Beshear's willingness to grasp the enormous possibilities of this project and help us shape our strategy and direction with determination is evidence of his vision and leadership.

And my wife, Laura Lee. She is just as courageous as the Governor and although she would never run for public office, she is also a public servant, working quietly and at all hours of the day and night. She has taken great personal risk for our community.

For all of us, Laura Lee, thank you.

 

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