In a turn of events that doesn't particularly shock me, the Louisville Arena Authority voted unanimously to drop plans for a 425 room hotel at the downtown arena site. In recent months, all photos of the planned arena have been devoid of the hotel tower that had originally been a part of the plans - today's vote simply removes the hotel officially.
The members of the authority stated they are dropping the plans for the tower for several reasons: to make the design more pedestrian-friendly, to give the arena a better aesthetic, and because other hoteliers fear a glut of luxury hotel rooms downtown in 2010.
Personally, I really hoped the arena would get this tower, not so much for the skyline enhancement, but it was my opinion that if you're going to build an arena like this, you should do it up right. The market would absorb the hotel rooms, other hoteliers are simply trying to protect their markets, which is not exactly surprising. If it really is for aesthetic and pedestrian reasons, I would think they're ridiculous, and simply it's a lazy design - but I think that is simply a cop out by Jim Host. Whatever.
At the same meeting where they voted to scrap the hotel, they also received an updated financial statement reflecting the new reality. And who knows if this arena will make a profit, let alone break even, but today's financial report forecasts an operating profit of around 100k in the first year. I am of the opinion that even with a modest operating loss, the benefits of the arena outweigh the cost in new entertainment options and quality of life improvements for the area. Hopefully I will be proven wrong, but I fully expect the arena to lose money year after year, but as long as the amount isn't millions upon millions of dollars, then the investment will benefit Louisville.
As a small aside in the arena story, upscale seafood restaurant McCormick and Schmick's has expressed "strong interest" in locating inside the new arena. That would be a great tenant for them to land, and would keep the arena lively everyday of the year.