Lease Announced for Kentucky Horse Park Hotel
RELEASE: October 18, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher announced that the Commonwealth of Kentucky has signed a lease agreement with Bluegrass Equine & Tourism Foundation, Inc., of Lexington to build a resort hotel at the Kentucky Horse Park.
This project marks the first time any luxury resort hotel will be built by a private developer on public land in the Commonwealth.
A recent economic impact study conducted by Economics Research Associates on behalf of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet found that the proposed resort hotel at the Kentucky Horse Park could:
—Generate $819 million in incremental trade and goods in the Commonwealth;
—Generate approximately $526 million in net new spending over the life of the hotel;
—Create approximately $87 million in new tax revenue over the first 20 years;
—Create 827 full-time jobs, plus construction work during the project;
—Draw 77% of its visitors from out of state.
Construction of the 267-room luxury lodging and conference center will be completed in time for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park, a 1,200-acre horse farm, theme park and equine competition host site that has evolved into North America’s leading equine entertainment, event and learning facility.
"The addition of this hotel to the Kentucky Horse Park will not only fulfill a commitment we made to FEI when they chose to bring the games to Kentucky, but it will leave a long-lasting economic benefit to the park," said Governor Ernie Fletcher. "A hotel at the park has been on Kentucky’s wish list for years, and its addition will make the park not only a place to visit, it will make the Kentucky Horse Park truly a destination."
A request for proposal (RFP) for the privately developed hotel was issued by the Commonwealth in November 2006. The winning vendor was selected through a competitive bid process and a lease agreement was signed on July 13, 2007. Since that time, Bluegrass Equine & Tourism Foundation, Inc., has been working out various details associated with the development that have been necessary prior to making a public announcement.
The Bluegrass Equine & Tourism Foundation is a non-profit organization established specifically to benefit the equine and tourism industries in the Commonwealth through development of the Kentucky Horse Park hotel. The Foundation will lease the land from the Kentucky Horse Park for a nominal fee plus a percentage of the gross receipts. After expenses are paid, all net profits will be redistributed into the equine and tourism industries both at the Kentucky Horse Park and throughout the Commonwealth.
"Thanks to the vision and leadership of Governor Fletcher, the world's finest equestrian facility has been further enhanced," said Jim Host, founding chairman of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010. Host added that "without Governor Fletcher’s commitment to building a new arena and assuring the construction of a new stadium and now the hotel, Kentucky would not have been selected as the home of the 2010 games."
The Kentucky Horse Park hosted more than 900,000 visitors and 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2006. Upon completion of all planned park improvements, including a new outdoor stadium and an equine arena, annual attendance is expected to increase to more than 1.6 million by 2014.
This week, the Bluegrass Equine & Tourism Foundation, Inc., presented its proposed project to a subcommittee of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG), another vital step in the process of bringing a resort hotel to the Kentucky Horse Park. The project will now be presented to the full LFUCG council to seek its support.
A formal announcement of the hotel brand and ceremonial groundbreaking for the luxury hotel and conference center will be scheduled at a later d