A Few Very Simple CentrePointe Questions for Mayor Newberry

A Few Very Simple CentrePointe Questions for Mayor Newberry

View PDF of page 5 print edition

This letter was sent to Mayor Newberry (and the Webbs) late on Sunday evening. Answers are, presumably, forthcoming…

Dear Mayor Newberry,

In January, at the Bluegrass Ball in Washington, DC, you told local blogger Joe Sonka, of the website Barefoot and Progressive, that CentrePointe construction would be underway within two weeks. That was nearly a month ago.

What happened?

At the same event, you told local writer Willie Davis: “CentrePointe is on track to be built. Progress is continuing.” When asked about the crater in the ground where Downtown Lexington used to be, you expressed no remorse. “Look,” you said, “it’s a step that had to be taken. Whether it’s CentrePointe or something else, it’s the first step to building something better.”

Other than a mud pit, what did you mean by “something else”?

Willie Davis and Joe Sonka (right) interviewed Mayor Newberry at the Bluegrass Ball

I don’t know if you saw the news this week. Marriott had an earnings call announcing a $10 million fourth-quarter loss, due in part to a $55 million charge for staff cuts and canceled projects. Their CFO said:

As we look ahead beyond 2009 U.S. hotel supply growth is likely to substantially trail demand recovery. This is the reverse of the situation we will encounter this year but it is clearer than ever that the brakes on new construction are being and will be applied more dramatically than ever before. This is not likely to change for some time.There is obviously more risk in the rooms that are financed but not under construction yet than there are on the rooms under construction and the most risk on the projects that maybe we have received a franchise fee and it has been approved and we have got signed contracts but they haven’t either financed or started construction.

Mayor Newberry, what’s going on with CentrePointe? Where is the money coming from? What is that “something else” you have planned for the hole in the ground?

Why won’t you or the Webbs answer these very direct, very basic questions?

Joe Sonka, Willie Davis, and David Schankula