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KFC Yum! Center Deal Could be Revised

KFC Yum! Center

The agreement relating to the KFC Yum! Center could be revised, as Louisville Metro officials are considering a reworked deal. 

Louisville Metro officials have expressed concern about the debt relating to the KFC Yum! Center, as the cost of debt payments are set to rise in future years. That, along with shortfalls in tax increment financing (TIF) revenue, has prompted some discussion about whether it is time for Louisville Metro, the University of Louisville, the Louisville Arena Authority, and the State of Kentucky to restructure the current agreement.

Under a proposal from three Louisville Metro council members, $240 million would be committed by Louisville Metro government over the next two decades to pay down KFC Yum! Center-related debt. In order to make that work, however, Louisville Metro says that the arena’s other partners need to reconsider their ends of the agreement. More from the Courier-Journal:

“We’re codifying what this mayor has done for the last few years,” said Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16th District, a co-sponsor of the measure. “And then we’re asking the other two partners — the state and U of L— they got to pitch in, if not, we’re not doing anything.”

The ordinance, co-sponsored by Republican Angela Leet and Democrat Marianne Butler, calls for the city to continue paying the maximum annual payments of approximately $10 million toward the arena debt. But it also says the university’s athletic association must alter its Yum Center lease and “contribute more funds” toward the arena’s rising debt.

U of L athletics spokesman Kenny Klein did not immediately return a phone call Friday afternoon seeking comment.

Under the proposal, it would be up to Mayor Greg Fischer — who has included the maximum payment in his budget since 2013 — to determine if the university’s increased payments are sufficient.

The proposal has other conditions for Yum Center partners. They include: Requiring state government to amend the arena’s tax increment financing district to include more sales and property tax revenue; the arena authority obtaining an opinion from its bond counsel that any new agreement would not negatively impact the bonds; and a bond insurer to consent to those changes in writing.

The KFC Yum! Center opened in 2010 for the University of Louisville basketball.

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