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My take (so far) --

1. Construct the Newtown Pike extension as soon as possible. When is construction set to begin? This would alleviate some traffic woes, especially along S. Upper and West Main.

2. Reconstruct Vine Street per the urban canal alternative with two-lanes eastbound and one-lane westbound. Convert Main as two-lanes westbound and one-lane eastbound. This slows traffic down considerably and the same number of lanes exist, therefore no capacity has been reduced. The tile drainage was installed for the railroad and for flood control - the latter is no longer needed.

3. Convert the vast majority of roads into two-way. The exceptions are those that are too narrow for adequate two-way conversion, where the circulation would not be improved (some near Gratz Park are an example of this). To help alleviate some woes that may come with the conversion, especially with turning, curbs should be reconstructed for slightly wider turning radii, along with new crosswalk approaches.


5. Add way-finder signage. This is in the works but no money has appearantly been appropriated for this.




pg. 30 --

1. 6th item down: both houses are being renovated or have been renovated into new housing.

2. 8th item down: Kimball House property is being redeveloped into condos with new additions to the rear. It is of much higher density.

3. 9th item down: The sidewalk was just narrowed and rebuilt, but I have yet to see anything more come about sad.gif

4. Changes occurred since plan was written: McDonald's now has a Chipolte's adjacent to the building but separated by a parking lot. The McDonald's is quite old and is prime for tear-down and rebuild as what has happened with other McDonald's.


pg. 31 --

1. 3rd item down: The loft project on MLK has been completed.

2. 4th item down: I think this may be happening soon. A vacant house was demolished, leaving the room indicated available.

3. 10th item down: New Gatton School of Business and Economics building is coming soon.

4. 11th item down: New North Hall has been completed.

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~268,000, with a considerable amount in the surrounding counties.


Traffic is persistent on the spokes and on New Circle Road, with many of those spokes near or at capacity during rush-hour and at low levels-of-service between ~10 AM and ~8 PM. New Circle Road is well over capacity for its entire length, and the northeastern segment isn't even a freeway!

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I haven't looked through everything yet, but here are my early reactions:


-A lot of the proposals and goals seem great, but whether they are implemented or not will be key as it is with any plan.


-I really like the reworking of Vine St!!  I couldn't agree more with the concept of replacing a 5 lane (one way) street with a two-way boulevard.  Then it would connect with some existing green spaces...sounds great for the pedestrian!!


-Its nice to see a focus on increased densities, hopefully this goal comes to fruition and doesn't get caught up in the anti-density sentiment out there.


Great goals, and they seem to be achievable for Lexington...I'll post more when I have a chance to review more of the documents.

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See the modified original post in this thread for updates.


I took a look around the documents and found that the plan's concepts are being realized. For instance, a loft/condo project along MLK was completed per the plan, along with UK's new dormitories, the Kimball House project and infill in South Hill. In addition to that, there are plans to raze one entire block in downtown Lexington (bounded by Vine, Limestone, Main and Upper) for a new mixed-use development - massive on scale - with varied setbacks, retail, parking and condos. It will be far more attractive than what is there now. The existing building stock is pretty pathethic, and most cannot be justified for renovations since they have been modified so heavily.

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Thats great to hear that they have people actually buying into the plan...its easy for people to say "hey thats great" when its on paper, but its much more difficult to get people to follow through with actions that support that document.

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I wonder why the Newtown Pike extension was not connected to Euclid?  That would seem a logical termination point, permtting the traffic from the Euclid/UK/Chevy Chase area to use the extenstion to get to the interstate system easier.




I appreciate this plan building on the work done on the Town Branch Trail and Greenway.  The Town Branch concepts are interesting in their own right:  Town Branch Trail


The Town Branch runs underground, under Vine Street, downtown.  For the three blocks of Vine between Lexington Center and Limestone Street the ground could be opened and the creek exposed as a water feature.


As an example, here is the plan's vision of Vine Street as a boulevard.  If the creek was brought to the surface one could have an American version of the Konigsallee in Dusseldorf, a boulevard with a watercourse running down the center.









It will not take much to repair downtown and environs as Lexington had limited wholesale demolitions for urban renewal (Rupp Arena and its parking lot being the most extensive), and enough of the city is intact to permit credible infill development.


The program here is quite realistic as Lexington has a healthy economy and is growing.  If the urban service area is not extended there will be pressure for increased density and infill development on vacant land.  This has happened in the past in Lexington as even the contained sprawl within the urban service area is built at a somewhat higher density (more apartments and townhomes) than one would find in a normal suburban area.  This was also occuring in the old pre-WWII parts of the city in a limited degree, with townhouse and apartment construction.


There is also no city-suburban friction in Lexington as there are no true suburbs within Fayette County.  Lexington was spared the wave of suburban 5th and 6th class city incorporations that plagued Louisville, and the city was already  annexing out into suburbia prior to the urban county government being established.


Lexington's power structure has a pretty good track record of executing a plan, too, if they are on board with it.













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t will be far more attractive than what is there now. The existing building stock is pretty pathethic, and most cannot be justified for renovations since they have been modified so heavily.


I disagree with that.  One of the charms of downtown Lexington are those small buildings on the side streets, like Upper. 



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406 feet of glass and steel

Project would fill downtown block

By Beverly Fortune, Bfortune@herald-leader.com

David Perry | Staff


A massive $250 million construction project that would add a 40-story tower to downtown Lexington and reshape one of the best-recognized corners in town was announced on Tuesday.


The developers, The Webb Companies, said the project would include a major four-star, 243-room hotel, 77 residential condominium units and 26,000 square feet of retail space. It also would have a 10,000-square-foot restaurant on the top floor.

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Yep. I'm surprised this was posted here. I have a front-row view of the development area (it's literally right across the street).


Mixed views here. I love The Dame as it is one of the few entertainment venues left in downtown -- and it does draw in national talent for such a small facility. Mia's is an excellent restaurant and hang-out spot, and Triple Crown Lounge and Mad Hatter were both valued tenants but left when their lease expired (only last month). There are some non-historic buildings, and a few that are in deteriorated condition, but there are also some gems. It doesn't help that there is a gigantic parking lot where the former Woolworth's store was at.


Here is what I posted at another forum:


A dedicated thread to this can be found here with rendering.


Just to clear up some details --


1. Phoenix Park will be reduced by 1/3. As it is, the park is only a little over 15 years old and is heavily underutilized. It rests below road grade, is almost in a constant shadow of other buildings, including Park Plaza and the DDA, and is far too separated from the streetscape via a water barrier.


As someone who actually uses the park and lives in front of it, I won't be sad to see it go. While it was needed greenspace when it was built, given that you had a continuous block of buildings where the Courthouses now reside, the Courthouse Plazas offer far more greenspace and are almost always bathed in constant sunlight. Many events are held here in lieu of Phoenix Park.


2. The development east of Limestone will consist of a two-story retail structure with a four-story parking garage that will be connected to the Lexington Library Parking Garage and Park Plaza mid-rise. This will also be connected, via a pedway, to Centrepointe.


3. The rendering shows a pull-in for hotel guests and for the underground parking garage off of Vine.


4. There will be two-stories of retail (or clubs/bars/etc.) on all four-sides, with two stories of office space on top of that. A hotel will be in the center, followed by condominiums/leased units, and a restaurant on top.


5. The Webb Cos. own the entire block, making property acquisitions a non-issue. They have also secured outside financing, although they are applying for tax-increment financing (TIF). TIF has been used many times in Louisville (it was limited to Louisville for many years, but recently expanded under the Fletcher administration to Lexington and northern Kentucky) to fund projects like Museum Plaza and Riverfront Park Place. TIF is innovative financing because it is designed to tax the increases in property value resulting from property improvements. Given that the development will be vastly more dense than what is there now (parking lots do not generate much...), and given that there is more there than condos, there will be a steady stream of revenue.


6. They are preparing for an August demolition date and for a completion by summer 2010. They aren't playing around with this one either -- they have begun or have evicted most of the block. Rite-Aid will soon close and possibly relocate in a development that will be in the triangle bounded by Main, Rose and Vine, or just wait for Centrepointe to open. I hope that The Dame and Mia's can find new locations, or negotiate space inside Centrepointe (although doubtful).


7. It will be Kentucky's largest LEED building, and one of the largest in the United States.


Personally, I'm cautious about the project. The Webb Cos. have shown that in the past, faced with many obstacles that involve financing, construction delays and downturns in the economy, they have pulled off the project in a very expedited manner. They have shown commitment to this project and aren't second guessing it, given that the design is pretty much etched in stone (there have been renderings floated around for quite a while). Their prior projects have been a bit of a drawback to downtown, IMO, given that while the buildings may be useful or practical, they are fairly negative to the streetscape.


Festival Market was popular when it first opened, but has since readapted to become nothing more than office space and locations for restaurants and eateries. Lexington Financial Center is a success, but its plaza is uninviting and its parking garage is a total waste. World Trade Center/Radisson is useful, but its streetscape is a bust and its design is hideous to say the least (it was built on the cheap and had expedited construction due to financial issues back then).


I will miss The Dame and Mia's if they move, and I really hope they can find new places in the downtown to locate to. But at the same token, I'd like to see some tasteful redevelopment occur on (most) of that block -- most of the buildings are not historic or are parking lots.


What I am looking for in this project is --

1. Room for the Farmer's Market. I think that they could somehow incorporate it into the design, or possibly construct a venue similar to what is in Huntington elsewhere on Vine (as part of Vine's reconstruction) or maybe in place of the remaining Phoenix Park.


I did notice that they stopped work on renovating the cafe at Park Plaza into something else. They began interior demolition in January but pulled out only a few days later, and I am assuming that they were given word that their cafe would face retail shops at Phoenix Park.

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Sizing up the project

Concerns swirl over plans for skyscraper

By Beverly Fortune, Herald-Leader, March 6, 2008


A rendering of a 40-story skyscraper proposed for downtown Lexington has stirred debate beyond whether to preserve a dozen historic buildings on the block and the entertainment businesses they house.


A day after the project was officially announced, some architects and others raised this question: How big is too big?

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Responses from tourism industry vary widely

By Jim Jordan, Herald-Leader, March 6, 2008


When a 267-room luxury hotel was proposed last month for the Kentucky Horse Park, managers of nearby hotels said the $90 million facility was unnecessary and unlikely to reach the occupancy levels forecast by developers.


On Tuesday, developers announced plans to build the $250 million CentrePointe complex, including a 243-room luxury hotel. The response from hotel and tourism executives ranged from muted to enthusiastic.

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well to be honest design-wise i feel like i've already seen it in the 80's. but other than being nit-picky it's great for lex. yeah i think it fits in well downtown there.


hopefully they come to their senses and don't have to destroy historic buildings to do it. maybe next we need some pics to get a sense of what might be torn down?


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What will be torn down is a group of historical structures, some of which are over 100 years of age. While the block near Limestone contains some non-historic structures that could be razed, and a parking lot, a 40-story building is not needed. Downtown Lexington has a 15-story height restriction, decided upon by a vote a few years ago, that was conceived to protect not only the integrity of the streetscape, but to prevent mammoth developments such as this from engulfing an entire block.


The Webb Cos. have screwed up projects in the past. Lexington Financial Center is beautiful, but its plaza is dated and never used; the adjacent parking garage is a huge blight on the streetscape on both Main and Vine. The World Trade Center/Radisson complex's design is horribly dated -- brown stone exterior that was built on the cheap; the parking structure is also a huge negative on both Main and Vine, and the stores that were in the center are now all but gone. Festival Market was an indoor mall and had some restaurants, but has failed as that; it has only one store and a scattering of eateries. Victorian Square saved a lot of Victorian-design structures, but the building was gutted for an upscale indoor mall; too bad that too, has almost all but failed.



^ The tower will literally be in front of you. All of the buildings in the foreground would be demolished in the image. The ones in the immediate foreground are the ones I won't miss, given that they are non-historic or would make the property invaluable if kept. If the buildings along Limestone were demolished, those lots and the parking lot would make for a very attractive infill -- of say, something less than 15 stories.



^ The building would be immediately in front of you. See that big white concrete wall? That's the Lexington Financial Center parking garage.



^ The dense collection of buildings in the lower left would be demolished.



^ ...lower right.



^ This is the sampling along Limestone that I wouldn't care too much about if they were gone for infill on an more appropriate scale. While the Triple Crown Lounge on the left is a historic building, it could be relocated or infill could be designed around that corner structure. At any rate, the bar has since closed :( The ghost wall that you see is from the former Woolworth's building.



^ The Webb Cos. design such beautiful downtown buildings.



^ The failed Festival Market at bottom.



^ Such brown glory!

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And they have started core drilling for the project ALREADY. Without a guarantee of tax increment financing. Or support from the city. UGH.

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wow seicer that was quick -- thx that helps a lot. i know where that is now.


i wonder why it has to be built right there? meaning perhaps another parcel of land can be used with less teardown impact? seems like they are set on those blocks tho, too bad (if not as bad as i thought).


ideally lex should stick to the downtown height restriction and focus on restoration/infill, in the long run that would seem be its strength vs crush and destroy type tower projects like this.


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Well, 85% of the block lies within the Courthouse Area Design Review Board, which holds restrictive .... restrictions on building facades, developments, etc. Several blocks of buildings on Limestone across and near from the new courthouses were restored under the Board's watchful eye, and another, which was facing impending demolition by a rogue owner, was saved (he was forced to sell it off or face emmenient domain). After having all of Vine wiped out for "urban renewal" in the 1960s and 1970s, and having many historic buildings demolished for these mega projects that never live up to their promise, the city better think long and hard about this tower. We have PLENTY of parking lots and crappy buildings to build infill on -- and as many developers have already shown, it's possible to add vibrancy and density without completely destroying what's best about Lexington -- it's history.

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yeah thats what i meant, they need to think long and hard about more teardowns and where it should be built. thx -- keep us updated.

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wow, that rendering...stalinst deco?


Limestone and Upper used to have a bunch of neat little buidligns between Vine and Main.  You can still get a feel of these old downtown streetscapes over on Mill, I think, the block north of Main.



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Let's add in here the low occupancy rate of the Griffin Gate, a luxury hotel, and the fact that a private developer wants to build a four-star luxury hotel at the Kentucky Horse Park (partially with state funds), and that we can't even fully sell out condominium/loft units at our existing developments!


Too many dollar signs are lodged in developers' heads

Proposal for huge hotel is driven by dollar signs, not sense

By Merlene Davis, Herald-Leader columnist, March 13, 2008


It seems we have become dazzled by the proposed number of folks coming to our area during September and October 2010 for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and that is leading to greed that folks seem unwilling or unable to control.


The estimate is about a half-million people flocking to the Bluegrass from more than 60 nations, spending at least $150 million, according to estimates on the WEG Web site.

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Some H-L letters to the editor for 06 April:




Lexington has been trying for decades to get people to come downtown at night, yet here we are about to stomp on the very thing we hoped for.


According to developers, we need a four-star hotel downtown so that four-star-type guests won't have to stay in Cincinnati or Louisville. I find it ironic, yet expected, in this day and age that the one-star-type guy -- also known as the taxpayer -- will have to foot the bill through tax abatements for this four-star-type guy's project.


Let them sleep someplace else if it means giving up a unique, independent, prosperous and desperately needed entertainment district.


This same kind of corporate welfare mentality is prevalent in the plans to replace Rupp Arena. The current facility is more than adequate. The new facility will not increase seating capacity. As far as I can tell, the only difference will be corporate boxes for the wealthy and seat backs for the rest of us.


As proven by attendance figures at University of Kentucky games, the lack of seat backs in the upper arena certainly hasn't deterred "the rest of us" from attending.


So here we go again, providing tax abatements so that more four-star-type guys can have sky boxes while the rest of us support it with our taxes. No thanks.


Mike Donnelly



Make it taller


I've been reading about this magnificent hotel and condo project in the making, and I'm very disappointed by some of the reactions it has gotten.


Now The Webb Cos.' plans to scale CentrePointe back five stories? Granted, the original design isn't perfect -- developers should save some of the existing architecture and make it blend a little better -- but they should feel free to raise it high, build it grand and make Lexington proud. It'll be the jewel of downtown.


It's true there aren't enough travelers to fill it up every day, but there will be. Build it and they will come, right? The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are coming, so now is the time to get started.


As for the nightlife on that block, those businesses are too great to just die. They will find a temporary home, and then resume business in a new facility.


The block is in dire need of renovation and expansion, and this is the chance. We should preserve what we can, but we shouldn't hesitate to make progress.


I look forward to seeing this project begin.


Matthew Raybould



Historic block


Asked to comment on The Webb Cos.' plan to destroy every building on the block that houses The Dame, Downtown Development Authority president Harold Tate said that "the historic fabric is important to downtown, but right now I don't think anybody can say what the historic fabric is."


So, despite admitting that he doesn't know whether there are historic buildings on the Dame block, Tate agrees that all of the buildings should be destroyed. Perfect logic.


There are historic buildings on this block. The buildings occupied by Mia's and Rosenberg's were constructed in 1826 by Lexington's first great entrepreneur, William Morton.


These are the oldest functioning commercial buildings standing in Lexington. While not as old, other buildings on the block have historical and architectural significance.


Don't be fooled by the current facades of these buildings. With a little care by owners who aren't looking to tear them down, these historic structures can again stand as proud and tall as any 40-story tower.


Tate's proposal to survey historic downtown buildings worthy of preservation can start with several of the buildings on this block.


Ryan Hrvatin



Project saves farms


I've been very surprised to hear so many objections to the CentrePointe development. Aside from the 2,500 construction jobs and 900 permanent jobs that this project would create, it is a great example of how infill projects help conserve farmland.


If the developers scrapped the plans for building CentrePointe in downtown Lexington and decided instead to build the same amount of hotel, condominium, office, retail and parking space on the outskirts of Lexington, it would take up about 80 acres of green space.


The tower would also be a great aesthetic improvement over the asphalt parking lots and dilapidated buildings now on the site.


I hope the Courthouse Design Review Board will recognize CentrePointe as the great opportunity that it is.


Jeff Jefferson



Elitist development


I read about the plans for CentrePointe with astonishment. This project is not about Lexington; it is about money and should be dealt with as such.


Lexington had the potential to be a great city, but unchecked development by insensitive leaders has left the city struggling with its identity.


Great cities are creative. They are visually interesting, attractive and vibrant. They encourage local arts and are accessible to all types of people. They use their heritage as a foundation for development. They do not destroy the very thing that makes them unique.


Remember the many farms in Fayette County that are now buried under housing developments? When historic fabric is removed, it is irreversible; a city or county cannot build it back.


Razing an entire block of historic buildings to hastily put up a building that decidedly has no relation to its surroundings or location is absurd. CentrePointe will be as sterile as a hospital room and could be located in any poorly managed city in the United States. It is an elitist project, initiated by elitists and will be patronized by an elitist society.


For the sake of Lexington, I hope the project fails or at least is modified to reuse the historic buildings that are some of the last vestiges of a city with its own identity and character.


Meg Nowack



Not innovative


I am all for innovative, people-positive development downtown, but I am opposed to the CentrePointe project for several reasons:


• It does not meet current guidelines.


• It goes against the carefully studied recommendations of the Downtown Master Plan.


• It ignores the current and future needs of downtown residents and small businesses.


• It is an unremarkable design that does nothing positive for the city's attractiveness or reputation.


• The history of developments such as this warrants caution at the very least.


• It puts an undue burden of risk on the city and its citizens with questionable returns.


This has obviously been in the works behind the scenes for a long time. Expecting Lexingtonians to acquiesce to a blustery fiat of inflated need and last-minute time constraints is a red flag in itself.


A project of this scope and prominence affects the whole of downtown and should be considered carefully in that light.


Phillip High



Build over useless mall


Every once in a while I have an idea that my wife actually likes. Most recently, she liked hearing my epiphany as we were driving on Richmond Road and turned left into the ghost land known to many as Lexington Mall:


Why don't developers Dudley and Woodford Webb make something shiny and beautiful out of that property?


I'm old enough to remember fishing with my grandfather there. I'm sure the mall's builders thought it was worth the sacrifice of our beloved fishing hole. I never forgave them.


Why tear down historic downtown buildings to make room for tall and shiny ones? I'm sure there are arguments that say "if we build them, spenders will come." Maybe they will, and maybe they won't.


The Webbs could spend much less on this endeavor and could still lend their wealth and expertise to preserve historic areas of downtown Lexington.


That seems like a win-win epiphany to me.


Jeff Bradford



Positive solutions


I have several positive solutions to the ongoing CentrePointe debate:


• Work to upgrade the Hyatt and Radisson into four-star hotels.


• Condemn and demolish the blight known as Lexington Mall. Building a hotel there would spur development on Richmond Road, which is the corridor to Interstate 75 from the southern United States.


• Condemn and demolish Turfland Mall, which is on its last legs. A hotel in that location would have easy access to Versailles Road and Blue Grass Airport.


Robert Clark



Fix existing structures


The Dame block is a vibrant part of downtown. Drive the streets around it on any weekend night to see hundreds out to visit friends, see live bands, sing karaoke and wind down after work. Imagine that same street without those businesses.


The CentrePointe development is to have condominiums, retail space and a hotel. We already have a number of new condos going up, and there is plenty of retail space available at Festival Market and the Civic Center Shops. We already have two hotels that are rarely at capacity.


It is my understanding that the money needed to fund the project is not yet available, nor does the project meet Lexington's guidelines for development. Yet developers are planning to demolish historic buildings.


The proposed building is a 40-story monstrosity that would not fit into the image of this city. People come here for the advantages of urban life in a place that still has the look, feel and comfort of a small town.


My hope is that downtown Lexington will remain the beautiful place it is. We should use the tax breaks that will come as a result of keeping these gorgeous historic buildings to restore them and encourage growth of our entertainment district to attract more people downtown.


Nurture our historic and unique Lexington, don't destroy it.


Alison Blair



No need to go downtown


Lexington is rapidly becoming Anytown, U.S.A. With the construction of the proposed new hotel, the city would become even nearer to that title.


What happened to the concept of a vibrant downtown? Certainly a 40-story hotel complex would quickly put the quietus on that by getting rid of many things that make or made Lexington unique.


Do we really need another hotel when the ones downtown and near North Broadway and Interstate 75 are not near 100 percent occupancy most of the time?


There is little enough need for most of us to go downtown now, though it seemed to be on the upswing. The CentrePointe development would put an end to that.


Beth Graves



Systems can't support it


The proposed CentrePointe development in downtown Lexington brings with it a number of unresolved problems that in some ways illustrate how not to proceed with such a proposal.


The consent decree between the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, the state and the city soon will be in federal court for approval, and it should require that major developments like CentrePointe have sufficient sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure between it and the appropriate wastewater treatment plant.


That the infrastructure in downtown Lexington is sufficient to support a project the size of CentrePointe is highly unlikely.


It seems obvious from the level of public outcry that the developer did not properly vet the project with the Urban County Council, nearby residents and other elements of the community. Apparently, the project has been in the making for three years behind closed doors in a manner more common in the 1950s than in the 21st century.


That Lexington can support a 240-room hotel downtown is highly questionable and reminiscent of The Webb Cos.' ventures with Kentucky Central Life Insurance in the 1980s and 1990s.


Whether the buildings that now make up the CentrePointe block have historical value or not, it seems clear that the project does not fit with many people's conception of the downtown area in the future.


The design reminds me of the haunted tower in the movie Ghostbusters.


Walter Gaffield



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Webbs miss center point

Editoral, Herald-Leader, April 7, 2008


Developers need to accept that others have stake in downtown project, too


Dudley Webb commented on his newfound patience Wednesday after he proposed a 60-day delay on his request to demolish buildings on the block slated for CentrePointe, his mega-development.

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I talked to the manager of Rite Aid (closing April 19) yesterday and they stated that they were moving out because of the Webb's Centrepointe development, having received essentially a "move out" letter similar to The Dame. The location was very profitable, and the manager added that they are currently searching for a new downtown location. Whether or not that is at Centrepointe, Main and Rose, or the new unnamed Main-Rose-Vine development is still uncertain.


Oh, and Webb has been "irritated" lately at all of the criticism of his project. So he released this (old) rendering of all of the developments he's done --



Note the lack of pedestrians :P I guess some of the buildings are okay, but many of the buildings he constructed along Vine are just hideous. Much like Vine itself. If that was to be developed today, it would surely look far different. That's what you get for designs of the 1970s and 1980s... Note "Lake Lexington" is represented!

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Club owner voices concerns about project


By Beverly Fortune, Herald-Leader, April 14, 2008


CentrePointe or no CentrePointe, quickly nailing down the future of the block where a high-rise hotel is planned is critical, says the owner of The Dame.


Tom Yost, owner of the live music venue, was in Lexington last week, scoping spots where the club could move to make room for the planned high-rise that would take up an entire block of downtown. The Dame and other buildings considered historic on the block would have to come down.

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Candidates not sold on CentrePointe


By Greg Kocher, Herald-Leader, April 14, 2008


Candidates in three district primary races for Lexington's Urban County Council took a dim view of the $250 million CentrePointe project, and they weren't too keen on the possibility of a new downtown basketball arena, either.


During a forum Sunday at the Lexington Public Library, candidates in the primary races for Districts 3, 5 and 11 spoke of striking a balance between attracting new development downtown and preserving those attractions that give Lexington its identity.

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Pedestrian view of CentrePointe


By Ned Crankshaw, a professor in the University of Kentucky landscape architecture department who specializes in urban design in historic districts. Herald-Leader, April 14, 2008


The proposed CentrePointe complex caused considerable discussion about its scale and appearance, the demolition of older buildings and the displacement of entertainment venues.


But the most important issue has been little discussed: How will the building affect the downtown street environment?

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Lease proof that landlord treated Dame like a lady

By Joe Rosenberg, Herald-Leader, April 28, 2008


I want to clear up a few factual gaps that, had they been explored, might have made the front-page article about The Dame a bit less newsworthy and the next day's editorial less condemning.


When I negotiated the lease for 156 West Main Street with the Harvester Group of Atlanta in 2002, I dealt primarily with Cole Skinner, a local manager-partner. I met Tom Yost and knew that other investors from the Atlanta area were involved in the potential operation of The Dame, but Skinner was the point person.

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Oh boy! More Letters to the Editor Fun. Yes, let's equate those who oppose Centrepointe into the "Nazi" category! How constructive. (See second item.)


Evidence needed


For the second time since CentrePointe was announced, developer Dudley Webb has made the claim that Lexington businesses are sending their clients to hotels in Louisville and Cincinnati because Lexington's accommodations aren't nice enough. Really? I would appreciate it if those Lexington businesses would step forward.


Has Greenbaum, Doll & McDonald -- the law firm that represents Webb -- sent its clients to Louisville and Cincinnati? That would surprise me, since his lead attorney, Darby Turner, is a past president of Commerce Lexington and a past chairman of the Lexington Center Corp.'s board of directors.


Is Turner's firm sending clients to Louisville or Cincinnati because they are embarrassed by the quality of Lexington's hotels? I truly doubt it, nor do I think any other sane businessperson would send a client 70 miles away just to spend the night.


Webb has demonstrated his disdain for places like The Dame, Buster's and Mia's. During his initial appearance before the Urban County Council, when asked if he would consider allowing those establishments to be a part of CentrePointe, he became visibly uncomfortable and indicated that while he thought those establishments had their place in Lexington, that place could not be within two blocks of his upscale hotel.


If Webb's friends are uncomfortable staying at the Hyatt, Radisson, Griffin Gate or Hilton Suites, then by all means, they should go to Cincinnati. And stay there.


Charles Baldwin



Needless buildings


It never ceases to amaze me that whenever something comes along that is a progressive step forward, the nature Nazis and tree huggers come out in force against it.


Dudley Webb and his partners in the CentrePointe development have bought all the properties on the block in question. They hold the deeds, and yet a ragtag band of so-called preservationists, led by Vice Mayor Jim Gray, who have not one penny invested in that block want to stop the construction.


Only in Lexington would groups like Preserve Lexington and the Blue Grass Trust try to preserve a pawn shop and a honky-tonk establishment like The Dame. What loss will they be?


Gilbert Jones



Progressive thinking


Lexington must be the only city on earth that equates old with historic. We have lots of old buildings on the proposed CentrePointe building site, but I don't think there's even one that's historic.


We have an interesting conundrum. In downtown, we can't build up, and on the fringes, we can't build out. Have we considered an underground Lexington?


On an unrelated note, I'm going to foot the bill for a state monkey to help our legislative process. Each June, the monkey will travel to every legislative district in Kentucky, open the phone book and point at a name. That person will represent that district at the next General Assembly session.


Don't laugh. Just imagine a representative beholden to no one, not obsessed with raising money, no re-election to worry about, no lobbyist friends to be influenced by.


We just may get people to vote for what is best for the state, its citizens and higher education. The potential is limitless.


Joe Mercer


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It never ceases to amaze me that whenever something comes along that is a progressive step forward, the nature Nazis and tree huggers come out in force against it.


WTF?! Yeah, that's a constructive argument...


Only in Lexington would groups like Preserve Lexington and the Blue Grass Trust try to preserve a pawn shop and a honky-tonk establishment like The Dame. What loss will they be?


No, it's like this in a lot of cities that want to preserve their historic buildings. Plus, there's certainly an incentive in keeping established live music venues downtown.


I remember being livid when Toledo decided to tear down the historic and haunted Club Bijou for the new municipal arena. Lots of people were mad since Bijou was one of the workhouse live music venues and nightclubs downtown- there was always something going on. Instead of reopening downtown, they moved to a more suburban area. Perhaps having their building torn down turned them off...


Point being, sometimes people get so caught up in the big projects, they forget about the little guys that give downtowns their soul. I'm sure this is not an easy decision for the people of Lexington.

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My comments --


1) The idea of having the hotel lobby face Main instead of Vine is a bigger plus. It seems that there is no massive auto court on the Main Street side, so let's hope they replaced the auto court on the Vine Street side with an urban park or something better.


2) The tower's relocation further back is a bigger plus and it isn't so overwhelming.


3) The facade preservation of the Rosenberg is a big plus as well, although I can't really see it from the second image they posted. I wonder if the facade is being preserved, and then being extended up a few floors...?


4) Space for a live music venue? At the meeting, Webb stated that he would not even consider space for a live music venue within two blocks. Is this a change of heart, after seeing the mass opposition to the project?


5) I don't have opposition to the tower itself, as it adds considerable density, but I wish they would include apartment units instead of more expensive condos.


I do have to concur with Gray on the following point, and it's one I've raised here before:


"My worst fear is we level the buildings, we destroy the historic fabric, we throw out the entertainment and the restaurants and we have another empty hole in downtown Lexington like the abandoned World Coal Center project 25 years ago," Gray said.


Let's make sure that when we do demolish the buildings, that we have a set game plan and all of the financing is in place. I don't want a giant hole or lot -- similar to the issue surrounding Museum Plaza or the World Coal Center.




Webbs tweak CentrePointe design

Vice mayor: Tower still 'troublesome'

By Steve Lannen And Michelle Ku, Herald-Leader, May 30, 2008


Developers of a controversial high-rise project in downtown Lexington have submitted revamped plans, but the city's vice mayor said the CentrePointe proposal remains "troublesome."


New plans by the Webb Cos. include:

• Putting the hotel lobby and entrance facing West Main Street instead of Vine Street.

• Moving the tower away from the street so the façade along Main Street is similar in height to nearby buildings.

• Attempting to preserve the façade of the Rosenberg jewelry store.

• Possible space for a live-music venue at the Rosenberg entrance.

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I liked the idea of them preserving at least the facade of the oldest commercial buildings in Lexington, and the oldest remaining Federal-style buildings in the core. But I'll miss the numerous other historical properties, most legible for the NTHP.

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Webb doesn't think that Lexington's oldest commericial structures are not historic? That they date to the 19th century is not old enough? The last line is also a gem... and sums up a lot of the frustrations.


Preservationists are not swayed


By Steve Lannen, Herald-Leader, May 31, 2008


Leaders of local preservation groups on Friday cast doubt on changes developers have made to the proposed Centrepointe skyscraper in downtown Lexington.


Developer Dudley Webb, however, said yesterday that he and his partners have done their best to respond to feedback and meet with preservationists and others with concerns.

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Public input being built into CentrePointe

By Woodford Webb, Herald-Leader Editorial, June 3, 2008


Significant design modifications have been made to the CentrePointe development since the project was announced.


We considered all suggestions from local groups and individuals about how the project should be designed. Some have been incorporated in whole or in part; others could not be for various reasons.

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Neighborhood group donates to save block

By Beverly Fortune, Herald-Leader, June 5, 2008


A Lexington neighborhood has donated money to Preserve Lexington's efforts to preserve a block of historic buildings threatened by the proposed CentrePointe project, and a fund-raiser is being organized to raise money for the cause.


The Historic South Hill Neighborhood Association donated $1,000 to Preserve Lexington, and an anonymous member matched that donation, for a total of $2,000. The group selected Preserve Lexington because it has "taken on the mantle of negotiations with the developer," said Peter Cassidy III, neighborhood president.

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It's on GTV-3 right now.

^ Link pops with video.


Demolition request for CentrePointe goes to review board

By Beverly Fortune, Herald=Leader, June 25, 2008


The Courthouse Area Design Review Board will meet Wednesday to decide whether to allow developers to demolish a stretch of buildings on West Main Street and to construct a luxury hotel, condominium and retail project.


The 35-story, $250 million CentrePointe project would take up an entire downtown block.


Developers Dudley and Woodford Webb argue the existing buildings are not historic, nor is it economically feasible to rehabilitate the structures.


Opponents, led by Preserve Lexington, will make the case that the buildings are historically significant and eligible for tax credits that would lower the cost of renovating and re-using.


Here is how the two sides view the project.


Preserve Lexington's structural inspection report for buildings


Kentucky Heritage Council letter about CentrePointe


Read developers' proposal to the Courthouse Area Design Review Board

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Development misses point

City can't build future without regard for its past

Editorial, June 25, 2008


The proposed CentrePointe carries its conflict in its name.


The block that The Webb Cos. and partners propose to destroy to build a 35-story hotel-office-condo tower is at the very center point of Lexington. The block is home to Lexington's oldest commercial history.

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Merge old buildings, new plan, they say

By Beverly Fortune, Herald-Leader, June 25, 2008


Hayward Wilkirson, a founder of Preserve Lexington, said his organization does not oppose a major development on the old Woolworth block on Main Street, where the CentrePointe project is proposed.


But preservationists want to see some of the 14 buildings integrated into the development.

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Buildings in question 'are too far gone'

By Beverly Fortune, Herald-Leader, June 25, 2008


CentrePointe developers contend it is not economically feasible to renovate the old buildings in the downtown block where they want to build a high-rise luxury hotel and condominium complex.


”Basically, those buildings are too far gone“ to save, said Darby Turner, attorney for Dudley and Woodford Webb, CentrePointe developers.

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Board approves CentrePointe proposal

Herald-Leader, June 25, 2008


The Courthouse Area Design Review Board has approved granting permits for construction of the proposed CentrePointe high-rise development in downtown Lexington and demolition of the buildings on the block where it is planned.


The five-member Courthouse Area Design Review Board listened to arguments from an overflow crowd that filled the Urban County Council chambers Wednesday afternoon, but it ultimately followed a city government staff report to grant the permits.


The 35-story, $250 million hotel-condominium project is planned by the Webb Co’s., led by Dudley and Woodford Webb.


Approval by the board allows the project to move forward, although several bureaucratic steps remain.

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Call if you do, and I can show you around the block and area.


Demolition could begin in a matter of weeks, since they applied for the permits previously. The buildings that are not along Main will be demoed first, since The Dame is still moving out. They are wanting to move _very quickly_ on this.


I pretty much watched ( and fell asleep through ) the hearings while watching GTV-3 ( our government channel ), and there was a LOT of opposition to the project and some that were for the project. Architects presented their renderings again, Webbs made some statements, and so on. It started at 2 PM, and I left for dinner around 6:30 that evening and the hearings were still ongoing.

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