State officials gave preliminary approval Thursday to allow staffers to begin examining a proposal in Georgetown for a massive project that would include a 6,500-seat publicly owned arena, three new hotels and a new interchange on Interstate 75.
The Georgetown Events & Commerce Center project also would include 622,000 square feet of retail space, 72,000 square feet of commercial space and 49,000 square feet for restaurants.
The project's price tag is estimated at $327.5 million, with developer May Commercial Group proposing to invest $197.4 million, according to state documents.
The project is seeking $116.8 million in funding from the state through what's called tax-increment financing.
The idea behind TIF projects is for governments to invest in improving infrastructure and then pay for those improvements using new tax revenue, which developments are expected to generate when the projects are completed and areas are revitalized.
The preliminary approval means state workers will create feasibility criteria to examine and have a consultant prepare a report before going forward.
The KEDFA board also approved the following tax incentives. In general, when a company is approved for tax incentives, it may keep that amount of money, which it would otherwise pay in taxes, assuming it fulfills the terms of the deal.
■ Mountain Valley Recycling LLC of Frankfort was approved for $1 million to lease a facility to make plastic resin for sale to manufacturers of consumer goods. The company estimates the project will cost $9.3 million. It is expected to add 360 jobs that pay an average hourly wage of $18 including benefits.
■ Stephens Pipe & Steel LLC of Russell Springs was approved for $500,000 to expand operations. The new facility would coat and galvanize chain-link fencing products already produced in Russell Springs. The company estimates the project will cost $1.1 million. It is expected to add 25 jobs that pay an average hourly wage of $10.42 including benefits.
■ Alternative Energies Kentucky of Danville was approved for $390,000 to acquire a facility to manufacture solar panels and fuel cells. The company estimates the project will cost $1.2 million. It is expected to add 13 jobs that pay an average hourly wage of $20 including benefits.