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Old August 16th, 2005, 04:43 AM   #121
georgeglass
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pic of city courts

let me see if this works..hopefully it is a pic from today of the City Courts condos[IMG][/IMG]
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Old August 16th, 2005, 04:55 AM   #122
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The Blackhorse Lofts at Gratz Park

I just found this website today. There is nothing on there right now, but I am curious to see plans for this. Here is the site anyway:

http://www.blackhorselofts.com/
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Old August 16th, 2005, 05:23 AM   #123
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I am so excited about the development in Lexington right now. The place is headed in the right direction no doubt!!!
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Old August 16th, 2005, 06:54 AM   #124
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I've always liked Lexington, the whole " Golden Triangle" region od Kentucky is imo going in the right direction, I just hope Lexington protects it's farms and natural beauty( I think it will). Thats my 2 cents for now.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 08:44 PM   #125
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Kimball House Square

I have seen renderings of this project in a window front on N. Lime near the Sayre School and it looks really good. This is a wonderful thing for that area because that stretch of Limestone was a rough patch, but this and some other recent improvements will help tremendously.



Kimball House to get extreme makeover

LIMESTONE LANDMARK TO BECOME DAY SPA, CONDOS

By Jim Jordan

HERALD-LEADER BUSINESS WRITER


Since 1882, the buildings that make up the Kimball House have been used as Victorian residences, a boarding house, a hotel and a sorority house.

By the 1960s, as many as 15 monkeys lived behind the hotel in a large cage that was dubbed "monkey house" by University of Kentucky students and local children who came to see the animals.

But like many other downtown hotels, the Kimball House fell on hard times in the 1970s and '80s.

"Famous or infamous" at various times in its past, the Kimball House has always been "an interesting piece of architecture and history," architect Gregory Fitzsimons said yesterday.

Now the former hotel on South Limestone Street near UK is headed for a $12.5 million facelift and expansion that will create Kimball House Square, featuring a 15,500-square-foot day spa and 36 condominium apartments.

La Bella Salon, Spa & Self Image Centre -- a Cincinnati company owned by UK graduates Leslie and Dr. James Foster -- will occupy the first floor and basements of the five core buildings.

La Bella is expected to open in September 2006 and have at least 50 employees.

Condominiums will be built on the second and third floors of the five main buildings, and also in a new building to the rear. The apartments will range from 600 square feet to 1,500 square feet and will cost $150,000 to about $300,000 each.

Lexington officials praised the project yesterday when it was announced by developer Marcum King of Kingland Cooper Commercial Real Estate and his partners.

They said it will preserve historically interesting buildings and strengthen the links between the UK campus and downtown, including Transylvania University.

"This project will really help the college-town corridor," said Mayor Teresa Isaac. "I also think it will bring a lot of people downtown."

Leslie Foster said she and her husband decided to bring La Bella to Lexington because of the high number of local residents who are driving to Cincinnati and Louisville to get the massages, body treatments, peels and other services that day spas offer.

About 60 percent of La Bella's clients are women.

The spa will use the services of nearby dentists and physicians as needed. It also will have a cafe and provide limousine service to clients who request it.

"It's going to be a true destination-type of spa," Leslie Foster said. "There is nothing quite like it here now."

The Kimball House closed in 2000. It was bought by King and his partners, Todd Darland and Jeff Cooper, in 2004 from Doris Warder, widow of Kimball House founder Douglas Warder.

Doris Warder told the Herald-Leader in 2000 that her late husband bought the first Kimball House building, which had been a UK sorority house, in 1942 before he left for Army service in World War II.

After the war, he acquired four adjacent Victorian-era houses, connected them with passageways and opened the Kimball House in 1948.

Fitzsimons said all of the houses are at least 99 years old. Two show up on city records in 1882 and the other three by 1906.

Warder named the Kimball House, which would grow to 100 rooms, for a Kentucky congressman who lived in one of the houses at the turn of the century and for the Palmer House in Chicago, where he had learned the hotel business.

In 1960, after Joyland Amusement Park closed, a hotel guest bought one of the park's Rhesus monkeys at an auction and then abandoned it at the Kimball House.

Douglas Warder kept the monkey in a large cage behind the hotel and eventually acquired as many as 14 more.

The cage was dubbed the "monkey house" and was popular with the younger set for years, Isaac remembered yesterday. "Everybody loved the monkeys."
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Old August 24th, 2005, 12:02 AM   #126
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^
I know I was so happy to read the paper this morning!!!
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Old August 26th, 2005, 01:18 PM   #127
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'Urban village' for Broadway

DEVELOPERS' PLAN CALLS FOR RETAIL SPACE AND APARTMENTS; CITY'S APPROVAL NEEDED
By Jim Jordan
HERALD-LEADER BUSINESS WRITER
South Broadway will lose a tobacco warehouse and gain an "urban village" under a $70 million retail/residential project proposed by firms from Ohio and Indiana.
Shelburne Plaza would fill the block on the west side of South Broadway between Pine Street and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks where the Shelburne Tobacco Warehouse now stands.
Construction of the plaza's 80,000 square feet of retail space, including a supermarket, and 220 two- to four-bedroom apartments is expected to begin next spring and to be completed in 2008.
However, city regulators, who must give their approval, have not yet formally considered the plan.
The project is the first proposed under Lexington's new mixed-use community zoning law that regulates large developments near residential areas. It is also the latest in a series of developments that are reshaping an area replete with aging houses, historic districts and a few survivors of the tobacco warehouses that once earned Lexington the nickname Buckle of the Burley Belt.
"When I saw such a large site available in such a great neighborhood," said developer Guy Totino, "my mind immediately went to an 'urban village' that could be a self-contained mix of retail and residential, and still be in the thick of a really neat urban area that is experiencing tremendous redevelopment."
Other projects in the area include:
• A $12.5 million renovation and expansion of the Kimball House hotel on South Limestone Street will create a 15,500-square-foot day spa and 36 condominium apartments.
• Two projects by developer Bill Lear -- South Hill Crossing on South Mill Street and CenterCourt on South Upper Street -- could add 144 townhouses and condominiums in the area.
• Lear also has a proposed townhouse project in the South Hill neighborhood in the 400 block of South Mill Street, but the number of units is not yet known.
• Gameday Center at South Broadway and West High Street, a proposed retail/condominium project near Lexington Center, is struggling to win the approval of city planners.
Totino said a supermarket is a cornerstone of the Shelburne project because downtown workers and residents have long said one is needed in the area. Developers are working with several supermarket companies to get a store, Totino said in an interview. Restaurants and shops would fill the remaining retail space.
Shelburne Plaza is designed to appeal to University of Kentucky students and young professionals who are seeking upscale living spaces.
Totino said the apartments would be "very urban," with hardwood floors and ceiling fans. "Students today are looking for the same amenities that they had in their parents' homes," Totino said. "So there will be state-of-the-art broadband Internet access and cable in every room.
"Our buildings are also very secure. We will have roughly 300 security cameras that will be digitally tracked on computers," he said.
The exterior of Shelburne Plaza's three main buildings -- two of which will be connected with glass-enclosed walkways -- will be covered with brick and limestone to match nearby structures.
There will be at least 150 street-level parking spaces and about 600 more in an underground structure.
Totino said the buildings will range in height from about four stories along Pine Street to about eight stories near the railroad tracks because of a natural change in ground level in the area.
The railroad tracks are expected to become part of the corridor for Newtown Pike if it is extended to Broadway, but the exact route has not been finalized.
Harold Tate, president and executive director of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority, said Shelburne Plaza will be different from anything found today in Louisville or Lexington because of the way the retail and residential work together to create a village atmosphere.
"I think this will let people in Lexington see what true urban development is all about," Tate said. "If we are going to get the mass and the density that we keep talking about downtown, these are the type of projects we need to have."
The project's design was also endorsed by UK President Lee Todd. "An urban village is exactly the type project I envisioned when we first launched the College Town plan" to strengthen links between the campus and downtown, Todd said in a statement.
"This is a spectacular project that will benefit the university and the community as a whole," he continued. "Launching a project like this is a clear indicator that the college-downtown corridor is the place to be."
The developers of Shelburne Plaza are Bloomington Group LLC of Bloomington, Ind., and Polaris Real Estate Equities of Highland Heights, Ohio. Totino is president of Polaris. Bloomington and Polaris have partnered on five previous residential and retail projects in Indianapolis and others in Pittsburgh and Knoxville.
The architect for Shelburne Plaza is Ratio Associates of Indianapolis, with civil engineering from Strand & Associates of Lexington.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 01:22 PM   #128
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New building at Vine and Mill

Quote:
Originally Posted by georgeglass
I saw that construction had started on a new building on Vine Street next to PNC. Any idea on what this building will be? I remember seeing a sign up a couple of years ago that had a picture on it. I tried to look for information, but I couldn't find anything.

Also, any information on The Blackhorse condos that are supposed to be built on Mill Street? I think I saw somewhere that it was supposed to be nine floors, but I've never seen a rendering.
THIS WAS IN THE PAPER ABOUT THIS PROJECT:!!!

A five-story office building is under construction at Vine and Mill streets in Lexington.

Alex Olszowy, code enforcement supervisor, said plans submitted to city building inspectors show that the prime tenant will be the offices of the U.S. attorney, although some vacant space will remain in the building.

Total square footage for the building is 58,140, Olszowy said yesterday, although that total might not be final. "The plan could be amended before it is done," he said.

The building will be located in a former parking lot at 260 West Vine between PNC Bank and Central Bank.

The site was owned by 222 West Vine LLC in 1999 when the project was first announced as an 11-story, $15 million structure. 222 West Vine LLC also owns the PNC Bank building.

Farra Alford, managing member of 222 West Vine LLC, did not return phone calls.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 09:21 PM   #129
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picture of new development on S Broadway

I took a picture of the building as it appeared in the paper, but it didn't turn out too well. I guess it gives some idea to those who didn't see the paper.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old August 26th, 2005, 09:23 PM   #130
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Thanks

Thanks Krosejr for the info.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 05:22 AM   #131
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Developers' plans good for downtown-UK area

A stream of good news for downtown Lexington turned into a positive gusher this week.

Yesterday, developers from Ohio and Indiana announced plans for a 600,000-square-foot residential and retail project that will occupy an entire block on South Broadway. On Monday, hope was finally breathed into the five linked buildings on South Limestone called the Kimball House.

Between the two projects, the south end of downtown near the University of Kentucky will gain close to 300 high-quality new housing units.

The bulk of them will be in Shelbourne Plaza, the mixed-use project on a block long occupied by a tobacco warehouse. There, a development team from Ohio and Indiana will spend about $70 million to build 250 apartments in three buildings connected by glass towers and anchored by a supermarket and other commercial activity.

At the Kimball House, the first floor will be devoted to a day spa while the upper floors and an addition will become 36 condominiums.

Many things have to go right for a big project to get off the ground, but one reason the Broadway deal could be made is a new zoning designation that allows complex mixed-use developments. The city took the right step, recognizing that the world is changing and zoning must change with it.

A downtown development plan, soon to be presented for review, should also help establish the framework for more people to live, work and shop downtown while preserving the city's historic neighborhoods.

Other developers and UK might also note that Shelbourne's backers had done their homework, meeting with and apparently listening to neighborhood groups as well as UK and city traffic and planning officials before announcing the project. Even big players do well to listen to those around them.

City officials must still examine the project closely before approving it.

But it is a good sign for Lexington and the region that we can attract high-quality development that can house hundreds of people and revitalize the urban core without destroying an acre of farmland.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 10:10 PM   #132
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New Landsdowne club to be built; renovation scrapped

DEMOLITION STARTS TUESDAY; NEW CLUB OPENS NEXT SPRING
By Jim Jordan
HERALD-LEADER BUSINESS WRITER
The walls of the Lansdowne Club will begin tumbling down Tuesday to make way for The Signature Club of Lansdowne, a $3.5 million dining and swimming club at 3200 Lansdowne Drive.
"We are going to give the people of Lexington the kind of club they deserve," developer Ron Turner said yesterday.
First proposed as a $2 million renovation of a 47-year-old Lexington landmark, the project gradually grew into a total rebuilding as outdated electrical, plumbing and air-flow systems, and other problems, were discovered, Turner said.
Demolition of the 9,400-square-foot clubhouse will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday. A new 16,000-square-foot clubhouse and 8,000-square-foot poolhouse are expected to open in March or April.
The new "zero-entry" pool with a water playground that includes slides and sprays will open May 15 and close Sept. 15 every year. The club will continue as the home of the Lansdowne Gators Swim & Dive Team.
"We have already sold over 300 memberships for 2006," which is roughly the club's 2005 membership, said Pam Stone, general manager of The Signature Club. Eight weddings also have been booked for 2006.
"It's going to be very family oriented," Stone said. "The only difference is that it's going to be very state-of-the-art," including a "cashless environment" where members sign for purchases and are billed later.
Other club facilities will include a fitness center and spa; restaurant and lounge; game room and arcade; ballroom and conference center; and tennis, basketball and volleyball courts.
Full memberships range from $1,500 a year for a family to $800 for a single senior citizen. The family rate in 2005 was $750 a year. Partial 2006 memberships for the restaurant, lounge and special entertainment programs are also available.
Non-members and groups may also rent club facilities.
The restaurant will feature steaks, ribs and other local favorites, but its specialty will be seafood. Turner is part owner of a Destin, Fla., seafood wholesale company that he said can provide items not usually found on local menus.
Turner also said he plans to light up the club at Christmas just as he lights up his house at 1008 Chinoe Road with thousands of bulbs that often cause motorists to stop and stare.
Turner, a real estate developer and founder of Amteck of Kentucky, bought the Lansdowne Club in May in partnership with his son Troy, the owner of Commonwealth Copy Products.
The club was built in 1958 by the developers of the Lansdowne subdivision -- J.W. Davis Jr. and C.B. McEachin. It was the first Lexington subdivision to have a private swim club.
The clubhouse was seriously damaged by fire in 1979, but the pool opened every summer.
The club struggled in the 1990s because of aging facilities and declining membership. In 1999, it was bought by an investor group led by Bill and Linda Varney to keep it open until new owners could be found

Last edited by krosejr; September 15th, 2005 at 03:52 AM.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 03:57 AM   #133
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Critical mass


By Tom Martin
BUSINESS LEXINGTON
There’s an old saying that “circumstance and timing give an action its character and make it either good or bad.” The circumstances of demographics have merged with the timing of key federal funding and important zoning changes to bring the renaissance of downtown Lexington to the brink of “critical mass.” Whether the outcome will be good or bad depends on what happens next.

Many moving parts had to synchronize perfectly to translate decades of discussion and hard work into the realities now taking shape and form. Perhaps the most pivotal development came this summer when 6th District Congressman Ben Chandler won $20 million in federal funding to complete the Newtown Pike Extension. “We have to have that traffic artery in and out of downtown Lexington in order to make it more pedestrian friendly, and in order to attract people to build in downtown Lexington the residential complexes we need to have people live there,” Chandler said in an interview that can be heard in full at www.bizlex.com. “The Newtown Pike project provides development opportunities, growth opportunities, economic opportunities here in Central Kentucky without destroying our most precious asset, the Bluegrass. To me that’s the best of all worlds.”

With investors also attracted by the city’s new “MU” zoning designations (permitting complex mixed-use developments) and encouraged by a reversal of the “urban flight” of the late 20th century, two major projects recently entered the rapidly expanding downtown development scene.

“We have critical mass happening. Timing is the key for a lot of things in life,” observed Lexington developer Marcum King, who recently unveiled a $12.5-million plan to transform the five inter-connected Victorians that comprise the Kimball House Motel - circa 1882 - into a mix of residences and street-level retail.

La Bella Salon, Spa & Self Image Centre, a Cincinnati company owned by Leslie and Dr. James Foster, is spending $3 million to restore and equip the first floor and basements of the Victorians. The Fosters plan to open in September 2006 with at least 40 employees, plus the staff of a partnering plastic surgeon, limousine service and catering from nearby upscale restaurants.

King said in addition to the spa, 36 condominium apartments are to be located on the second and third floors and in a building situated behind the familiar Victorians facing Limestone.

Only a few blocks to the east of King’s Kimball House Square project, on the South Broadway site of a vacated tobacco warehouse, Bloomington Group LLC and Polaris Real Estate Equities Ltd. have unveiled plans for Shelburne Plaza, a $70-million “urban village” of apartments and street-level retail.

Developer Guy Totino said the plan calls for 250 two, three and four-bedroom apartment units and 80,000 square feet of retail space. “We plan on having some rooftop garden amenities for the apartments, and we’ll offer entertainment-driven retail. We see that as restaurants and shops. We’ll have a courtyard theme that will have a gazebo for community-type events, such as Bluegrass bands on Friday afternoons, children’s magic shows, holiday events and things of that nature. Every restaurant will be required to have outdoor seating to give the area a very nice sense of community,” he said.

Four supermarket companies are said to have expressed interest in occupying a portion of the project’s retail space.

The Shelburne plaza construction project is expected to employ more than 400 over two years and is slated for completion in mid-2008.

Why bother?
Proponents of downtown revitalization say such urban developments are more widely beneficial than many realize. In a recent guest column for the Courier-Journal, Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes noted that “cities with strong job growth in their downtown areas have stronger area-wide growth in jobs, population growth and economic growth.” And, she added, “cities with fast-rising downtown populations enjoy faster-rising home values across the entire metropolitan area.”

In addition, Lexington is beginning to experience a national trend of “reverse urban flight” as most of the advantages of living in the suburbs have disappeared while the disadvantages have increased. Phil Holoubek, president of the Lexington real estate firm LRC, Inc., said for many, the suburbs have lost their allure. “When people fled for the suburbs, they could get more land for less money. Since then, lots have shrunken, developers have to cram single family homes right next to each other, housing prices have shot up so that you get less land and spend more money and you’re nearly as close to your neighbors as you would be in an urban area. Finally, the suburbs often lack the culture that an urban area offers with live theater and that sort of thing.” Holoubek’s firm anticipates breaking ground in early 2006 on “Main and Rose,” a mixed use project located at its namesake downtown intersection featuring ground floor retail with residences above with completion expected by the summer of 2007.

New demographic realities
Recalling a finding in the housing study conducted for the downtown master plan, Downtown Development Authority president Harold Tate pointed out that “over half of Lexington are singles and couples, and that changes the demographics in terms of what people are looking for.” Some people, said Tate, “want the option of having a townhouse, a condominium or a rental unit where they don’t have to take care of the yard, or they can lock up the place and go on their travels. I think you’re seeing more and more of that happen.”

Mayor Teresa Isaac, possibly eyeing the hundreds of engineers and medical specialists heading for Lexington as Belcan and the UK Medical Center expand, joins Holoubek and Tate in citing new demographic realities to explain the rising demand for the urban lifestyle. “We’re seeing a lot of young urban professionals who want to live in downtown,” said Isaac, “and we see people who want to live close to where they work.”

The next ten to fifteen years will be the “perfect storm” for downtown housing said Phil Holoubek. “Here’s why: 72 percent of downtown residents are young professionals. 22 percent are empty nesters and 6 percent are ‘non-traditionals’ - gay couples, midlife crises, divorcees, that sort of thing. So 94 percent of downtown residents fall in two generations. There are 82-million baby boomers, between 43 and 57 years old. They are just now becoming empty nesters because of the fact that in today’s society, kids move back home from college and stay at home longer. So as the (boomer) generation finally starts becoming empty nesters, you’ve got 14 more years of providing them with the downtown housing and lifestyle they want. My generation, which is 28 to 42 year olds, is irrelevant to downtown housing because we have kids, and when you have kids, you flee for the suburbs for twenty years. The generation behind us numbers 78 million. This is what’s shocking. No one ever thought there would be another generation as big as the boomers, but the 27 year olds of this so-called “echo” or “millennial” generation are just leaving the nest for the first time. We have 18 more years of providing downtown housing for them. The two biggest generations in our country's history, both wanting to live downtown at the exact same time - that’s the big demographic reason why urban density in downtown housing is a must.”

Attorney Bill Lear, one of Kentucky’s leading practitioners in real estate development law, whose South Hill projects are in various stages of progress, said Lexington developers have been reluctant to join a national trend of downtown revitalization - until now. “The demographics really support it,” he said. “The two biggest elements of our population right now are empty-nesters and the children of the baby boomers. The two biggest cohorts in the American population are the two biggest candidates for downtown housing. That’s why you’re seeing so much of it springing up.”

New perception of “urban density”
“That is the key word here: density,” said developer King. He believes this aspect of urban life should be viewed in a more positive light; one that emphasizes the pleasures of living within walking distance of the office, grocery, theater or a favorite eatery. “People get scared of that word ‘density,’ but instead they should be all for it. Because it’s exactly what they want.”

Citing suburban sprawl into surrounding horse farms, the World Monument Fund recently singled out Kentucky’s Blue Grass region as the only cultural landscape in the United States appearing on its endangered list for 2006. Urban planners in places such as Boulder, Colo., have embraced density as a way to prevent damage to the very landscape that has made their cities attractive. (See “A Boulder vision” in the archives)

“Urban density is our future,” said landscape architect and Bluegrass Tomorrow president Steve Austin. “It preserves greenspace, creates the vital, vibrant atmosphere we want to attract young professionals and creative minds, will help us reduce traffic, and will create new ways of adding development value.” Austin, however, offered a caveat: “Urban density without great urban design is fatal. We must stress the importance of architecture, ‘streetscaping,’ and proper mixed-uses. We must have developers and people in the city government who understand this and have a public that demands this.”

“We have a saying in our projects: height is our friend,” said builder Lear. “In an urban environment, you can’t go out, you go up.” In Lear’s opinion, a city’s structures and greenspace should not be mutually exclusive. “You can’t just have all buildings and concrete. You have to have some nice outdoor spaces where people can go and spend time, walk their dogs; nice streets that are tree-lined. We’re trying to create that environment.”

On hearing the news of the latest developments in downtown Lexington, Clive Pohl of the Lexington architecture firm, Pohl Rosa Pohl, was optimistic that the city finally has reached an important juncture. “It feels as though, at long last, the tipping point has been crossed and that life, with all its color and potential, will find its' way back to our city center where it belongs.”
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Old September 15th, 2005, 03:58 AM   #134
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On the right path? Town Branch Trail: Connecting Lexington’s past to its future

By Van Meter Pettit
Guest Commentary
Anyone who has spent time in Lexington can tell you it’s a lovely place to live or visit. We have a 200-year-old history, two universities, a highly educated population, and a diverse and prosperous economy. We sit astride two major highways - and of course (as if anyone will let you forget) we’re the Horse Capital of the World.


For just a moment, let’s step back from the Lexington we all know and love and ask a question: What more could Lexington be? What are the missing pieces that would make Lexington an even more wonderful and prosperous place, the kind of magnet for talent, creativity, and by extension, economic development, that other places in the country have become?


In drawing a comparison, let’s look at successful medium-sized cities like Austin, Boulder, San Antonio, Providence or Portland. What is a common feature? Each has a vibrant and well-designed urban center that has transformed their respective downtowns into 24/7 live-work-play environments.


In my opinion, Lexington has tremendous unfulfilled potential in this regard. Without diminishing downtown’s numerous entrepreneurial businesses or the spike in private development that has sprouted over the last year, our downtown is still well behind the curve of other American cities with whom we should be able to compete. Our downtown has numerous existing and dormant locations of interest, whether they be historical, cultural or economic, but downtown conspicuously lacks a centering element that would synch it together.


A growing number of Lexingtonians are beginning to believe that it is high time for Lexington to dream big and follow that with action. If we can “connect the dots” of our city, promoting a number of places of interest through a unifying and active experience, then we will pull tens of thousands more visitors off the highway to visit, attract many more bright young professionals to live and work here, and convince scads more lively retirees to spend their golden IRAs with us.

What could provide that unifying thread? The very same element that drew frontiersmen to this glorious spot of wilderness in the first place: Town Branch Creek.


Ever wonder why Lexington is located where it is? Why the city grid has no cardinal bearings? Why the central business district is so long and thin?


Believe it or not, Lexington was settled in 1779 along the banks of the middle fork of Elkhorn Creek, a small tributary called Town Branch that now lies buried under Vine Street.

What Town Branch Trail, Inc., a five-year-old 501-c-3 nonprofit, hopes Lexington can achieve is no less than the rebirth of the forgotten creek where our city was born at the dawn of the American Revolution. At its fullest, the project would take the form of a ten-foot-wide asphalt path shared by bicycles and pedestrians running a minimum of eight miles from downtown Lexington out to Masterson Station Park (which has an additional four-mile grass loop). Within the immediate downtown area, we envision a half-mile ribbon park running down Vine Street that would connect Thoroughbred and Triangle Parks (over the footprint of the buried creek). This Vine Street section of the trail would emulate the dry-stone canal and tree-lined “commons” that our city created out of the creek over 200 years ago. (We don’t propose digging up the actual buried stream.)


The scope and potential of this project can at first appear by degrees thrilling, daunting, or hopelessly far-fetched. Nonetheless, this project is slowly becoming a reality. A Downtown Master Plan commissioned by the Lexington Downtown Development Authority has integrated this project as a central element. Town Branch Trail is a major component of the city’s unanimously approved Greenway Masterplan. It has been integrated into the design for the Newtown Pike Extension, and Congressman Ben Chandler has offered enthusiastic support for the idea. To date, the project has attracted over $1,000,000 of in-kind donations of land and labor and $450,000 of funding to build two miles of trail. On October 8 at 10 a.m., we will dedicate the first half-mile of trail across from Masterson Station Park in the McConnell Trace neighborhood.


Now let’s put our efforts in context: The San Antonio Riverwalk took 40-plus years to create, and cities like Austin and Portland have been building miles of urban trails since the 1970s. These lovely places have been enjoying a very positive urban renaissance for decades as a result. Our situation is a bit like what Mark Twain said about Kentucky: “When judgement day comes, I’m moving to Kentucky, because everything happens there twenty years later.” Well, our twenty-year lag time is over, folks, and we have lots of nitty-gritty work ahead, but with equal measures of inspiration, perspiration, and cooperation we can carve a path into the future that will take Lexington to a whole new level of prosperity and urban life.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 03:59 AM   #135
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Bringing Vine in line: Linear park would spur progressive economic development

By Phil Holoubek
Guest Commentary
The most important economic development strategy any American city can take in the 21st century is the creation of a thriving, vibrant, 24-hour downtown.


As Richard Florida points out in his “Rise of the Creative Class,” thriving downtowns are one of the most important factors that knowledge-based young professionals consider when choosing whether or not to relocate to a new city. Once knowledge-based young professionals move to a city, knowledge-based companies soon follow. This is critical to the success of cities in the 21st century because the old, manufacturing-based approach to economic development is dead. In just the past three years alone, 1 out of every 6 manufacturing jobs (16 percent) has been lost to locations outside the United States!


Thriving downtowns contain lots of cool, owner-occupied housing, they have abundant restaurants and nightlife, they are pedestrian-friendly, and they also contain ample, usable greenspace. Vine Street, in its current state, falls short in every single one of these categories.



The concept
In August, the city council’s planning committee asked me to present a proposal for the creation of a linear park along the length of Vine Street. It’s not a new idea. As far back as 1804, a similar concept existed along the linear canal that ran through downtown.


The more recent proposal connects Triangle Park to Thoroughbred Park, contains water features throughout, is historically correct, is consistent with Lexington’s brand image, and would be built with local materials. The park would be 60 feet wide in some places, and narrower in others. Due to the enormous distance between buildings across Vine Street from one another (150 feet on Vine Street, as compared to 90 feet on a typical city street), we are able to add this linear park and still have room for two-way traffic, ample on-street parking, and sidewalks.

The specific design of the park has not been discussed in detail yet, nor is it important at this early stage in the process. Rather, several different designs have briefly been reviewed. At this early stage, it is far more important to agree on a broad concept, than on specific design elements.


For example, it is important to agree upon the general scale and scope of the project. Will it be a memorable icon or something less? The Opera House in Sydney, Australia, provides a great example of an iconic image. Sydney needed a new opera house. However, rather than building an “opera house,” they built an iconic image. As a result, when you picture Sydney in your mind, the first image you see is probably the harbor with the opera house in the background. This is an economic development engine. Although it cost more to build than a lesser opera house, the economic returns have been far greater. We should look at the opportunities for our linear park in the same way.



The benefits
The benefits of this concept are numerous. The park improves quality of life by providing residents a place to walk, work, bike, eat, and just “be” downtown. It provides a sense of place, lowers traffic speeds and makes Vine Street more pedestrian-friendly.


The park is also a major economic development tool. It will encourage the development of mixed-use projects (retail, restaurants and residential) along Vine Street, and also make Lexington a more appealing place to visit. The result is increased property, sales, tourism and occupational tax revenues. As a study by the Brookings Institute points out, “In fact, successful downtown turnarounds have shown that for every $1 of public investment, there will be $10 to $15 of private money invested.”


This concept also provides the one “shared vision” that can jumpstart the rebirth of downtown. It is not divisive among party lines, and everyone in the private and public sectors, and at the local, state and federal government levels, can agree that this improves our city’s quality of life. As Congressman Ben Chandler said, “A linear park is certainly something all Lexingtonians can be proud of. It will attract more people to Lexington and the downtown area, which will be very beneficial to all residents and existing businesses. It will also greatly improve our quality of life. Downtown Lexington is very important to me.”


The concept also protects our one brand image - horse farms. Since this concept will likely lead to increased density in the urban core, it reduces pressure on city leaders to expand the urban service boundary area. As a result, we help limit sprawl and increased traffic.

Finally, the concept is historically accurate. It takes us back to a time when Vine Street was referred to as “The Commons,” the Town Branch was run through an open canal, and this area was a major congregating place for citizens. Although this concept does not necessarily recommend returning Town Branch to the surface, it does recommend including water features that are representative of the Town Branch. It also recommends including the long-running and successful Farmers Market.



Other cities’ successes
Many other cities have created downtown linear parks with water features as economic development tools. Successful projects that were studied for this concept were located in San Antonio, Texas, Oklahoma City, Okla., Boulder, Colo., Denver, Colo., Providence, R.I., and Indianapolis, Ind. All of these cities have seen improvements in quality of life, tax revenues and economic development as a result of their projects. Oklahoma City created a temporary 1 percent local sales tax to raise $40 million for a new linear park with a canal (a total of $500 million was raised for other downtown projects). The result has been more than $1 billion of private investment to date. Providence spent $50 million on a linear park and additional money on other downtown projects. The resulting private investment has been over $1.5 billion to date.



Funding parks
In some cases, federal funds have been used to create linear parks. For example, 77 percent of Providence’s funding came from the federal level. In other cases, local dedicated taxes are created, as was the case in Oklahoma City and Boulder. Some cities have used a temporary local sales tax. Other cities have created temporary tourism taxes (hotel tax, car rental tax, etc). Additionally, naming rights for certain park amenities are usually created, in order to encourage corporate and individual donations, thus increasing the sense of “ownership” that the community feels for their park. After all, downtown is often referred to as “everyone’s living room.”



Next steps
The city is in the process of creating a task force to determine how best to implement this project. The task force will consist of both public officials and private citizens, and will include input from all key stakeholders. The task force will also identify possible funding sources and create a timeline for the project. With the possibility of Lexington hosting the World Equestrian Games in 2010, that sounds like an appropriate deadline to me!
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Old September 18th, 2005, 05:18 PM   #136
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Artek Lofts off Georgetown Street

I had seen these mentioned in a few articles and I found a web address with more detail. It seems like a great project.

www.arteklofts.com
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Old September 25th, 2005, 11:55 PM   #137
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Lexington’s loss of ideaFestival a wake-up call

By Tom Martin
Business Lexington
We’ve been seeking answers to questions about a disturbing recent event for the city of Lexington.

The announcement that Lexington’s loss of the biennial ideaFestival will soon become Louisville’s gain is deeply troubling for a city that is openly striving to reinvent its identity as a place that values knowledge and talent. The ideaFestival had been presenting our city in a new context that was beginning to counter those dispiriting and widely held negative perceptions of Kentucky’s intellectual capital. You know the ones we’re talking about.

It’s not as though we weren’t warned that this could happen. Festival founder and organizer Kris Kimel made it known in late 2004 that the festival was in the red - that while it was his desire to keep it in Lexington, he also had to make it work, and that other cities, Louisville among them, had come courting with offers of more broad-based support than Lexington seemed willing or able to provide.

Forewarned, we had a choice: invest more substantially or let it go. As we all now know, we let it go.

Perplexed and concerned about the message this sends, we’re left to sort out how we failed as a community to support and sustain such an invaluable tool of progress.

There’s an old blues tune, “The Same Thing That Makes You Rich Can Make You Poor.” Its original intent was simply to make a statement about one of life’s most disappointing ironies. But in the case of the ideaFestival, it could be reversed to say that the same thing that costs also provides. The festival was no profit center. Most such civic ventures operate on the thinnest of margins, if not in the hole, relying on underwriting and subsidy to cover the deficit. The projected gap between known funding and estimated costs - $150,000 remaining from the 2004 event - surely would have been retired by a more responsive community.

As a city and culture, Lexington has been making progress in its efforts to catch up with other American medium markets in the race to lift its economy and, by extension, its people onto a more competitive footing. That progress has been due, in part, to such undertakings as the ideaFestival, which had been branding our city as a place of the inquisitive and innovative; a place where anyone with a brain would want to live, work, think, innovate, raise kids, play and walk the dog.

There was something exciting and seductive about a community that greeted some of the nation’s deep thinkers with standing-room-only crowds. The thought of it makes you smile with a mixture of bemusement and pride. Just look at a short list of festival lecturers and participants: theoretical physicist Brian Greene; Beatles producer Sir George Martin; author Oliver Sacks; bio-medical engineers, psychologists, commercialization experts, spiritualists, filmmakers, public policymakers, biologists … your head swimming yet? For anyone who enjoyed intellectual stimulation, it was heaven.

Quite a few businesses and institutions did step forward with dollars, air-time, advertising space, expertise, enthusiasm and elbow grease, including the University of Kentucky, Lexmark, Belcan, Georgetown College, Toyota, FifthThird Bank, the Lexington Clinic, WLEX, Cornett-IMS and the Herald-Leader, just to name a handful.

We had a somewhat engaged corporate community. And we had a somewhat supportive city government. In retrospect, however, we now see that it wasn’t enough to ensure in full measure that this event - and all that it stood for - created the foundation of credibility that is absolutely critical to a city striving to grow and attract industries and academics engaged in such heady things as high technology and vital research.

Louisville, led by the enlightened Mayor Jerry Abramson, saw in the meantime an opportunity to snatch away this innovative tool of economic development and leaped at the chance to brand itself as an epicenter of smarts, ponying up the funds and shaking local corporate trees to ensure its success.

This loss is a victory for Lexington’s competitor cities - those actively positioning to score big for their economies by adapting to the times.

Writing in The Atlantic Monthly, Richard Florida, whose appearance at the 2002 ideaFestival drew an SRO audience, observed that “innovation, economic growth and prosperity occur in those places that attract a critical mass of top creative talent.” Nothing more clearly defines the ultimate purpose of the ideaFestival.

In her front page story about a new direction for Commerce Lexington, Janet Holloway quotes Ed Morrison, a consultant to the chamber and a proponent of a new model of economic development - open innovation systems or civic networks - as advising that, “we need to identify priorities, find a way to get everyone’s input without blame or finger-pointing, and listen carefully to each other. Then we do something; we make a decision that allows each person to have some ownership of the trip.”

This is the positive approach, the high road, the way we believe good things ultimately are accomplished. The way we would prefer to see our city and state operate.

So, enough hand-wringing. It’s futile to tend to the barn doors now that the horse is in clover, 70 miles to our west.

This loss serves notice on all of us that this is a time for serious reflection; a time to ask some penetrating questions about ourselves as a community: Was the ideaFestival important to us? What is implied by its departure? Maybe this wasn’t for us. But what is?

Now that Louisville has wrested the ideaFestival from our grasp, how can we leverage this situation to make the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky a better place? After all, Lexington doesn’t corner the market on intellectual curiosity. Maybe there’s room around this state for more than one IdeaFestival. Maybe we need to start thinking within a framework of “co-opitition” - working in cooperation WITH such competitive markets as Louisville, Paducah, Bowling Green, Covington, Ashland, Owensboro, Henderson and Pikeville to create a statewide series of smaller, more sustainable events that could serve to brand Kentucky - all of us - in an attractively positive light. How many of us would jump at the chance to be involved in such a collective, non-partisan effort, pulling in the same direction for the common good? Is it at least worth a try?

In the words of the Rolling Stones:
“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime
You just might find you get what you need.”
The ideaFestival is what Kentucky needs. Let’s try to keep it.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #138
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Food Fare: Hamburg goes upscale

By Eugene Bell
Contributing Columnist
When construction first began in Hamburg Pavilion, some of my friends quickly dubbed it “Hamburger Center,” in honor of the fast food restaurants that were the first eateries to spring up in the soon-to-be burgeoning retail development. The area has since developed well beyond its initial quick-service offerings into a “destination” restaurant scene, as a growing variety of dining establishments have chosen locations on and around Sir Barton Way. Not only are the fast food restaurants thriving, but upscale chain operators are locating there also, an indication of an environment ripe for continued growth of the restaurant scene in Hamburg.


And for good reason. According to Forbes Best Places latest study, when it comes to the cost of doing business, Lexington is the second best place in the country to locate a company in terms of business costs.


“The demographics of Hamburg are what major restaurant companies are looking for, such as new housing growth within a short radius, accessibility and disposable income, not to mention the median age of adults in the area (which is a relatively young 33),” said Michael Maloney, a partner at I Ching in Hamburg. “Hamburg is the most progressive mall in the area.”


I Ching, which opened its doors in September of 2003, offers quick-casual fare that blends a variety of modernized Asian flavors, including Chinese, Thai and Japanese influences. The restaurant draws its business, especially at lunch, from a predominantly white-collar crowd of business people and shoppers going about their routines in the immediate area, but the attraction of Hamburg, both in terms of retail and restaurants, reaches beyond Fayette County’s borders.


“Hamburg is in Lexington, but it doesn’t actually draw as many people from Lexington as it does from surrounding counties,” Maloney said. “It’s what some have called an ‘eastern Kentucky draw mall.’”


Even with a significant amount of the area’s residential development yet to come, business “is getting better every day,” said Maloney, and the high-end home prices in nearby developments bode well for I Ching’s business.


In terms of staffing, Lexington’s nearby colleges and universities offer a good supply of potential help for restaurants like I Ching, which employs between 30 and 50 people at any given time, according to Maloney. There are twelve institutions of higher education within 30 miles of Lexington, providing ample student populations to fill the part-time staffing requirements of local restaurants. Finding good help, as they say, has always been a challenge for the food service industry, but the challenge has become increasingly important to restaurants of late, as growing costs in areas such as insurance have added pressure to the industry’s already tight margins.


“The top two challenges to the restaurant industry are labor and insurance,” said Kentucky Restaurant Association President and CEO Stacy Roof. “One reason that it’s hard to keep people in restaurant jobs is the high cost of insurance. Health insurance now accounts for 40 percent of a business’ operating costs. It’s just hard to make a go of it under those circumstances.”


And the collegiate presence around town also makes modern venues like Hamburg appealing to relatively new and expanding restaurant concepts for another reason.

“Louisville and Lexington are, indeed, test markets for restaurant concepts,” said Roof. “Both are medium-market college towns, and that makes them attractive to companies that are fine tuning their marketing and overall presentations.”


Hamburg (and the surrounding area) is well on its way to becoming a thriving suburb in its own right. With the development of more new hotels, office space and surrounding homes, many who live and work in the area see the Hamburg community quickly becoming a world unto itself.


“It’s almost becoming its own little city,” Maloney said. “It’s got everything you need. You almost don’t have to leave if you live here.”


But that doesn’t mean the community isn’t a draw for “outsiders” as well. Hamburg is easily accessible from two major crossroads in the state, I-64 and I-75, and with over 400 hotel rooms available, nearby restaurants are provided with a wealth of new diners daily.


And the high concentration of restaurants, while it creates increased competition among those dining establishments, also provides added appeal for diners. A long wait for tables at one favorite stop turns into an opportunity to try another location just down the road, and those considering eating out become less daunted by the potential for crowded dining rooms and long waiting lists. The operators, for their part, feel there are still plenty of customers to go around.


In this writer’s opinion, it all goes back to the first three rules of successful restaurant ownership: Location, Location, Location, and Hamburg’s restaurant scene has indeed become a thriving home for a lot more than hamburgers.




Sep 23, 2005
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Old September 26th, 2005, 12:03 AM   #139
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Steaking its claim

By Anne Sabatino
Guest writer
For nearly 10 years, Malone’s Restaurant has built a reputation as a popular “inside New Circle” steak-and-seafood dining spot for a varied crowd, from families to businesspeople to sports revelers relaxing after a day at the races or on the greens. Local figures and traveling celebrities have been drawn to its tables at the Lansdowne Shoppes, often taking time to scribble a quick note on their menu to Lexington locals and co-owners, Bruce Drake and Brian McCarty.


Together the two created the Bluegrass Hospitality Group, which owns and operates many Lexington-based favorites around town - including Malone’s and Oscar’s, Sal’s Chophouse and Harry’s American Bar and Grill, Regatta, The Club Room and Malone’s Banquets.


Now, the restaurant management company is carving a place for itself in Lexington’s new restaurant frontier - Hamburg Place. Although the idea of a second Malone’s location in the area’s most busy and popular shopping area seems like a recipe for success, the Hamburg economy presents challenges the group has not faced before - particularly a massive area with a lot of big competition.


Downtown may attract many diners looking for a distinct local dining flavor, but what happens when one of those restaurants jumps in the game with the big chains? Are the local ties enough to sustain the business? Will food speak louder than words?


McCarty and Drake have taken that chance and think the new Malone’s - to open in the renovated Damon’s location - will stand out in the crowd. They point to the high quality of food and service people expect from the restaurants and the fresh appeal of a new concept as reasons. In addition, the location already features a successful Bluegrass Hospitality Group restaurant, Harry’s American Bar and Grill - also a second installation of the original in Lansdowne.


The group has experienced success with various applications of restaurant models, but their experience hasn’t come without trial. The Hamburg location of Harry’s was completed about one year ago inside the Damon’s owned by the Bluegrass Hospitality Group. Though business at Harry’s helped the flow into Damon’s, the franchise didn’t produce. Drake and McCarty took a look at the situation and came up with a new plan.


“We had to address the fact that the Damon’s brand is an issue. It reached its peak 10 to 15 years ago and has been on a downward slide for a while,” said McCarty. “The upside is that we were fortunate to get a great location.”


So, what do you get when you combine a dying franchise with a high-dollar ticket for prime real estate in a popular shopping area? You know the saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” McCarty and Drake chose to stick it out. And renovate.


Harry’s has been open during the renovations that were essential to transforming Damon’s sports bar into Malone’s classic dining room. In addition to the transformations in the main dining room, the kitchen facilities had to be updated and a special section of the restaurant will house a chic new concept: Aqua Sushi and Oyster Bar.


Only months ago, the two pushed the envelope of fine dining in Lexington when they presented The Club Room at Malone’s, which features prime steaks, coldwater lobster tails and Wagyu “Kobe style” beef all served in a well-appointed private room by a highly-trained, full-service staff.


“It’s part of our business model to listen to the consumer and deliver on those preferences,” McCarty said. “That’s critical to any success - whether it’s the decision to change a menu and feature Malone’s steaks at Sal’s, create a new concept like Sushi or bring Malone’s to a different audience.”


Indeed, Hamburg opens a new pool of potential diners for the restaurants, but that pool is not available without some competition. New-to-Lexington chain concepts vying for the attention of diners in Hamburg include Bonefish Grill, Carrabas, Ted’s Montana Grill and I Ching - and they’re all flourishing so far.


McCarty and Drake acknowledge the competitive nature of the business.


“We’re big believers that the good ones survive,” said McCarty. “These restaurants have a great fan base, and they are operated well. I think that some of those restaurants may even feel an increase from the attention that is increasingly being focused on the area because of our establishment and other developments. Plus, this area brings in people from a lot of different areas.”


In addition to drawing a Lexington crowd, McCarty and Drake expect Central Kentuckians from Richmond, Georgetown, Winchester and Mt. Sterling will be more regular at Malone’s than they were able to be with only one Lexington location.


With all the new traffic pouring into Hamburg, hopes have been dashed that the new Malone’s location will take the pressure off the traditional Friday night fight for a table. McCarty and Drake are happy to keep it that way.


“Malone’s is on an hour wait every night, and we need to keep it that way,” said McCarty.


Only time - and a few Friday nights - will tell whether the gamble on this Lexington locale will pay off.


Malone’s second location and the new restaurant, Aqua Sushi and Oyster Bar are scheduled to open on October 10. Harry’s has remained open during the renovations.


Sep 23, 2005
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Old September 26th, 2005, 11:39 PM   #140
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Way to go LEX & LOU!!!! :-)

America's 100 best communities for young people (Newsweek)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9466949/site/newsweek/

KENTUCKY
- Mt. Sterling
- Lexington
- Louisville
- Murray/Calloway County
- Ohio County
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