New plan proposed for theater, hotel

By Matt Lasley mlasley@civitasmedia.com

June 21, 2014

Local resident Greg Lewis recently approached the Leitchfield City Council to discuss his proposed plan to restore the Alice Theater and Alexander Hotel.

During the regularly scheduled Monday, June 16 City Council meeting, Lewis said he has been working for the past six months to garner financing to purchase the theater and hotel, but after he saw signs had been posted regarding the intent to demolish the building, he thought it best to approach the City Council regarding the project.

Lewis said he wants to buy and restore the theater, hotel, and restaurant for their original uses. He said he would operate the theater, and his mother and sister would operate the restaurant.

“I want to bring life to that part of town,” said Lewis, who moved to the area 25 years ago.

According to Lewis, the property is currently completely off the market because the owner said he is tired of trying to sell it.

Despite the notice of intent to demolish, however, Lewis said he has spoken with the realtor for the hotel and theater who told him the owner would likely still work with Lewis on the project if he can come up with the necessary $515,000 to purchase the property.

A date for the proposed demolition of the Alice Theater and Alexander Hotel - currently owned by Jay Dinwiddie, who inherited it from his father, Jim Dinwiddie - has not yet been announced.

According to Leitchfield Chief of Police Kevin Henderson, to tear the building down would likely cost around $100,000.

Lewis said most of the remodeling that will need to be done to the property appears to be cosmetic; however, Henderson recommended Lewis ask Dan Cox, the state building inspector, to take a walk-through of the building with him to get an estimate of how much restoring the building will actually cost.

Henderson said the total restoration costs may be far more expensive than Lewis anticipated.

Lewis also asked the City Council if the City could any financing or grants for the project, but City Attorney Kenneth Smart said the City can neither loan money nor give a grant.

Lewis said he does not yet have the financing to purchase the theater and hotel, but he is currently preparing paperwork to receiving financing for the project. He has also started a donation page on Facebook to raise money for the purchase and restoration of the theater.

Henderson said Lewis should make sure he has ownership of the building before he raises donations because if the plan falls through, he could face criminal charges if the donated money is either not returned or not used for its designated purpose.