Lexington Distillery District One Step Closer to Revitalization

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City approved for $45.8 million tax increment financing to boost historic preservation, urban entertainment, and tourist area in former bourbon distillery district adjacent to downtown Lexington, Ky.

The KDA also is discussing the creation of an interactive

KEDFA (Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority) has approved $45.8 million for The Lexington Distillery District to to support a major re-development of the historic bourbon distillery area. The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will assist with the development of Lexington's former bourbon heritage corridor with new commercial, residential and tourism opportunities.

Secretary Marcheta Sparrow, Kentucky Secretary of Tourism, Arts and Heritage, stated "Lexington has a wonderful asset and opportunity with the mixed use redevelopment of The Distillery District. The project will help boost the impact of local tourism; it will help improve the area and will be a formidable connection to the Bourbon Trail. This is a superb project and I am enthused to support it."

Nearly 300,000 square feet of industrial architecture at the National Register James E. Pepper Distillery and newly renovated Old Tarr Distillery will anchor the new arts, entertainment and urban residential district.

Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers' Association stated, "This project couldn't come at a better time. Bourbon is experiencing an incredible resurgence around the world and that popularity is drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to the Bluegrass. The Distillery District will be a tremendous gateway for our famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which has grown into one of the Commonwealths' most beloved tourist attractions."

Gregory stated, "The KDA also is discussing the creation of an interactive "Bourbon Education Center" at the Distillery District to inform visitors of Bourbon's rich heritage and significant economic and tourism impact. We've been impressed with the Distillery District's work to promote our signature Bourbon industry and build upon Lexington's Bourbon history."

The Lexington Distillery District is the largest adaptive reuse project to date in Lexington, Kentucky. The District begins at a key intersection of the Newtown Pike Extension (NPE), Lexington's largest roadway project in a generation. Now under construction, the NPE will connect the Blue Grass Airport and the Kentucky Horse Park, with the first phase along District expected to be complete before the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The District will allow Lexington, renowned as Horse Capital of the World, to further attract consumers, conventions and tourists by capitalizing on the District as a gateway to the already famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The District is slated to become a tourism driver with experiences such as an interactive Bourbon Center, active distillery, Town Branch Trail, and downtown Lexington's first cohesive arts and entertainment district.

The redevelopment to date includes several new businesses, including Barrel House Distilling, which is the maker of Pure Blue Vodka, Buster's Billiard's and Backroom music and entertainment venue and several art galleries. The District's urban stretch of the Town Branch Trail, an eight-mile walking and biking greenway, is currently under design study and may now be accelerated by today's TIF approval.


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