Fayette County

Lexington council takes first step toward hotel tax increase for $250 million convention center renovation

The Urban County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to put on its agenda a resolution supporting legislation that would allow for a 2 percent increase in Fayette County's hotel and motel tax to pay for a $250 million convention center renovationl. A final vote on the resolution will take place at the council’s Dec. 8 meeting.

If passed by the council, the resolution would be sent to the state General Assembly. The state legislature must pass legislation allowing Fayette County to raise its hotel and motel tax. The next legislative session begins in January. In addition to the additional 2 percent tax, the Lexington Center Corp. will also ask the state for $75 million to help pay part of the $250 million cost. The plan includes an additional 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall, larger ballrooms and additional meeting space at the complex on West Main Street that was built in 1976.

The construction and renovation is projected to cost $190 million. The remaining $60 million is needed to pay off outstanding debt payments related to previous expansions and renovations as well as financing and other costs, said Bill Owen, president and CEO of the Lexington Center Corp, which manages the convention center, Rupp Arena, retail space and Lexington Opera House.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall