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Western Kentucky University & City of Bowling Green Make Great Remodeling Team

Posted In Real Estate Law

Last week, the New York Times featured a story about Bowling Green’s redeveloping district near downtown, formally called the WKU Gateway to Downtown Bowling Green (Gateway, for short). The district began taking shape in 2007, after the city and Warren County reached an agreement with the state to establish a 383-acre, 52-block special development and tax district. Since then, there has been a steadily increasing amount of projects in this once rundown area.

Twenty eights projects, to be exact, have been completed or are under construction in the Gateway district, including the Bowling Green Ballpark, Hitcents Park Plaza, the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce building, and WKU’s Health Sciences Complex. Since 2008, $262 million has been spent in downtown construction. While that figure may cause a gasp, the renovation is nothing short of breath taking.

Mr. Gary A. Ransdell, WKU’s President, credits the construction with breaking down the barrier that once existed between the university and city. As he stated in the NYT article, “[T]here’s been a shift in student density at the north end of our campus. With each new project that density increases.” WKU itself has added $24 million dollars’ worth of student housing, new fraternity housing, parking, and a $10 million alumni center.

Pursuant to the 2007 deal, Gateway pays local government 80% of the increases in payroll, property, sales and other tax revenue generated by new development within the district. The revenue is devoted to retiring construction bonds, building infrastructure and assisting developers. It’s a win-win situation, with students, residents and visitors all coming out on top.

The recent efforts of the university and city are a testament to the transformative power of real estate. Revitalization projects shape everything from the economy to living patterns. Gateway serves as proof that hard work, interest, funding, and government cooperation can result in praiseworthy results. Hats off to them!

This article is intended as a summary of federal and state law activities and does not constitute legal advice.

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