The Urban County Council gave final approval Thursday to $15 million in borrowing for the Lexington Center Corp. to pay for technology and other upgrades to Rupp Arena.
The council's unanimous approval means the Lexington Center can move forward with its two-year overhaul that includes a new center-hung scoreboard, wireless Internet for fans and changes to the roof infrastructure so the arena can attract more concerts and major events.
The $15 million in upgrades are in addition to $800,000 that Learfield Communications — which has the contract for advertising for Lexington Center — has given the center to install ribbon boards around the second tier of the Rupp Arena bowl. Those ribbon boards have already been installed.
Bill Owen, the CEO and president of Lexington Center, has said the bonds will be sold in late December or early January. A portion of a tourism tax will pay for the $15 million renovation.
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The corporation receives approximately 2 percent of a room tax on local hotel rooms to pay off a $22.5 million 2004 renovation. The bond payments on that renovation are to be completed in 2019.
The corporation can use that 2 percent room tax after 2019 to pay off the new bonds by 2025, Lexington Center officials have said.
From 2016 to 2019, the board can use cash to pay the estimated $300,000 interest payment on those bonds.
The Lexington Center Corp. must get council approval to sell the bonds because it is a quasi-government body created by the city.