More bad debt news for the KFC Yum Center

There is no doubt that the KFC Yum Center is one of the nation’s nicest arenas, but the riverfront facility in Louisville is struggling to make its debt payments, according to the Courier-Journal.

Marcus Green reports that a tax that was supposed to help pay for arena construction has generated less than one-third of the amount originally projected.

Arena officials have scraped together cash to deal with the shortfalls, nearly emptying a building renovation fund and notifying Louisville metro government that more city money may be needed as early as next spring.

The troubles have captured the attention of the bond market, with rating agency Standard & Poor’s lowering its confidence in the authority’s ability to repay the project’s debt to “negative” from “stable” over concerns about the sales tax revenue from the arena neighborhood.

City officials are hoping that economic growth will come to the rescue. That seems a risky bet given the economies in most cities these days.

It’s also a cautionary tale for Lexington, which has hopes of doing something grand and creative with Rupp Arena.

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