Consultants Suggest New Hotel, Convention Center for Louisville Area

Consultants who were hired to study downtown development possibilities in Jeffersonville, Ind., have submitted their recommendations. At the top of their wish list for the city, which is located just north of Louisville, Ky.: a 125,000-square-foot convention center.

The consultants—Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners and Memphis-based Pinkowski & Co.—were hired by the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission, the Jeffersonville Urban Enterprise Association and the Clark-Floyd Convention & Tourism Bureau, each of which contributed $25,000 to finance the convention center study. They said that a convention center—as well as an accompanying parking garage and 275-room full-service hotel—would provide both the city and the region with significant economic opportunities.

"This kind of project is expensive, but it could provide a huge boost for our downtown," Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan said in a statement. "Our next step is to take a closer look at the financial end of this and determine what we can or can't do."

In order to develop their recommendations, Hunden and Pinkowski considered case studies in similar-sized cities located near metropolitan areas, as well as the quality and availability of convention center facilities in Indiana and Northern Kentucky. They also examined hotel room data from the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and conducted a survey of 650 Indiana- and Kentucky-based meeting planners, 84 percent of whom said they "were open to the idea of hosting a convention or trade show in Jeffersonville."

If completed by 2012, the convention center complex, including the proposed parking garage and hotel, would cost an estimated $100 million to $118 million. The convention center would likely include a 30,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 17,000-square-foot grand ballroom, a 7,000-square-foot junior ballroom, 56,000 square feet of office and event-preparation space, and 19 meeting rooms totaling 15,000 square feet. The recommended hotel, meanwhile, would likely feature a 9,000-square-foot grand ballroom, a 3,300-square-foot junior ballroom and eight meeting rooms totaling 6,750 square feet.