[Moderated by Matt Jones]
For those who live in or visit downtown Lexington and enjoy its up and coming bar and restaurant scene–change is in the air for our humble town.
The Courthouse Area Design Review Board approved a new design for the $393.9 million project while reserving the right to have developers and architects tweak exterior details on its apartments. CentrePointe also includes office space, a J.W. Marriott hotel, retailers and restaurants, including a Jeff Ruby’s steakhouse.
CentrePointe, first announced in March 2008, has been controversial because of its design and because buildings on the proposed block were razed without subsequent construction. Grass has been planted at the site, which is in the middle of downtown.
I am all for putting something in that empty grass lot between Vine and Limestone in the center of downtown; it was originally intended to be a hotel for the World Equestrian Games, but instead has sat vacant. Though I am admittedly somewhat skeptical of this design rendering and its affect on our downtown, especially as Mayor Gray has reservations on the matter. For those who don’t know, Jim Gray spent 20 years in his family’s construction business, then became a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
Regardless, there is still a long way to go through various hurdles, especially as there remain aesthetic and city-impact concerns, but this was a large step for development of the space.
If the differences between investors, designers, and government officials on the vision for the site are overcome, the construction could have a very positive, long-term impact upon the Lexington economy and downtown, much like the widening of South Limestone and the development of the Cheapside Park Fifth Third Bank Pavilion. In addition for the BBN, it will undoubtedly impact the University and the future of the Rupp Arena project.
Disclaimer: I have only surface level knowledge on this matter, so I could absolutely be misinformed and will readily admit that. I have certainly benefited from all that downtown Lexington has begun to offer in my 5 years living here and look forward to its future growth, along with maintenance of its history and integrity.
Feel free to sound off on some “old money Lexington” gossip on the topic in the comments section.
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