Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
Tourism Development Finance Authority Approves Ark Encounter Project in Grant County
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority met today and gave final or preliminary approval to several tourism and film projects.
The authority considers applications under the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, which allows eligible tourism attractions a rebate of sales tax up to 25 percent of project capitol costs over a 10 year period. Projects must meet certain criteria to be eligible such as having a positive economic impact for the Commonwealth and the rebate is based on performance.
The authority gave final approval to plans by Ark Encounter, LCC for a theme park in Grant County with an investment of $172.5 million. The maximum incentive available would be $43.125 million over 10 years. The incentives come from the sales tax generated by the project.
The authority heard a report from Hunden Strategic Partners that showed the Ark Encounter project met the criteria of the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, which includes requirements that the project attract at least 25 percent of visitors from outside the state by the fourth year of operation and that it has a positive impact on the Kentucky economy.
The report also said the net fiscal impact on the state would be between $64.6 million and $119 million over 10 years in sales and income tax above and beyond the incentive, depending upon several variables on the projected attendance.
The authority also:
- Gave preliminary approval to Bryant Downtown Hotel, LLC, for the development of a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel planned for downtown Owensboro that would be connected to the proposed convention center. The investment is $20.3 million and the maximum incentive would be just over $5 million.
- Approved the cost certification for Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville.
The authority also reviews applications under the Kentucky Film & Entertainment Industry Incentive Program. This incentive provides approved productions the ability to earn a refundable income tax credit equal to 20 percent of their production expenditures in the state. It applies to films, television programs, commercials, documentaries and Broadway plays slated for national tours.
- Approved plans for a feature film by Boo Partners, LLC, with expenditures of just over $1 million.