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HUD Loan May Spur Museum Plaza Construction

by Gabe BullardFinancing may soon become available for Louisville's indefinitely-delayed Museum Plaza skyscraper.The building's developers have been working with city and state officials to put together an application for a $100 million loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The loan would come from HUD's Section-108 program. Twelve-hundred such loans have been distributed since 2008. Officials say the loan poses no risk to the state, as the developers have pledged to repay it.Given the potential for thousands of new construction jobs if work resumes on Museum Plaza, officials say their loan application is strong. However, Governor Steve Beshear says there's no guarantee that it will be approved."We're going to be doing everything that we're big enough to do to make sure that HUD approves this application, but in the end it will be up to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make the final decision on this application," he says.Museum Plaza's developers say the loan would help them secure the additional $365 million necessary to complete the tower. The additional funds would be raised mostly through bonds and construction loans.The internal layout of the building has also been changed, with 90 condos being scrapped for a second hotel. Sales of condos downtown have been slow, and developer Craig Greenberg says demand for hotel rooms is more likely to increase in the future."The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau very recently came out with a new strategic plan about how to grow and attract more people here for conventions as well as more tourists, and one of their key findings was that our downtown area lacks class A, quality hotel rooms," says Greenberg.