UofL Breaks Ground On Activities Center, Helps TIF Potential

by Devin Katayama on April 18, 2012

The University of Louisville has broken ground on a new student activities center which will serve students while potentially helping the school earn tax incentives.

The $37.5 million center will be located off Fourth Street and it will use energy efficient technology and offer students various sports and recreational activities.  President James Ramsey is also trying to use the center to meet a spending goal to activate a tax increment financing district on the Belknap Campus.

The nearly 1,000 acre TIF district will only be activated if U of L spends $200 million, at which point the school will receive a portion of state and local taxes collected at certain developments surrounding the campus. U of L recently activated a TIF district downtown that Ramsey expects will bring $1.3 million back to the school.

A recent economic impact study from a third party in association with the Cabinet for Economic Development’s TIF application didn’t credit U of L with as much spending as he thought it should, said Ramsey.

“It comes down to what they’ll actually allow us and there’s some expenditures that we thought would be allowed that may not be allowed, but I would say that we’re probably maybe 30 to 40 percent [there],” he said.

In December, Ramsey told WFPL he thought U of L had spent roughly half of that $200 million. But, he still expects to have the minimum met, he said.

“We hope to be done by the end of 2013, to have hit the 200 and then to activate the TIF hopefully in 2014,” said Ramsey.

Should Ramsey decide to activate the financing, he said the area would likely focus on supporting manufacturing and engineering incentives in the same way the downtown area has supported healthcare.

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