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seicer

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  1. Lee Plaza is one of those iconic abandonments of Detroit, Michigan that stands out as a prime example of what went wrong with the city in the latter half of the 20th century, and is a pillar of potential along West Grand Boulevard. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Lee Plaza is an excellent representation of Art Deco from the 1920s and was at one point, a luxurious apartment complex that offered hotel amenities to its wealthy residents. On a bitterly cold day several years ago, I trekked down West Grand to pay a visit to Lee Plaza, and to capture at least some of the beauty that remained. The development was proposed by Ralph Lee, a self-made millionaire who went from selling furniture to building his vision for a grander Detroit one property at a time. His hand extended into over 30 upscale properties that were peppered throughout the blossoming city, and Lee Plaza was to be his tallest. Designed as an upscale apartment tower with hotel services, the 15-story building was completed in 1929 at a cost of $2.5 million. Its exterior, faced with orange glazed brick, featured sculpture and tile that evoked the Art Deco architectural style, topped with red Spanish tile and a green copper roof. The interior was no less extravagant, with 220 one- to four-bedroom units with some of the apartments coming included with furnishings. The first floor contained a ballroom and other amenities, with common areas showcasing the best in Italian marble, exquisite walnut wood paneling and hand painted frescos and detailed barrel vaulted ceilings. For Lee, this was to be a part of his vision for West Grand Boulevard, to transition it from a collection of single family houses and apartment buildings into mid-rises similar to New York City’s Fifth Avenue. But the luxury living did not last long, as apartment homes began to fall out of favor by the 1940s with the subsidization of construction of single family houses to fulfill a housing shortage at the end of World War II. By the end of that decade, Lee Plaza was hosting transients and other short term renters. Through some financial difficulties, Lee Plaza was eventually sold to a developer in the 1960s who conducted minor renovations. In 1969, it became low-income senior citizen housing. Lee Plaza was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. From the time of its opening to the time it was added to the register, the building had never been completely remodeled, keeping intact its Art Deco elements, its frescos and ornamentation. But the decline of the building continued, cumulating with its closure in 1997. But time has not been kind to Lee Plaza. In 2000, more than 50 terra cotta lion heads were stolen from the building, with some of them sprouting up in a new residential development in Chicago. The copper roof was stripped in 2005. And there are little to no windows to speak of, only accelerating interior deterioration. Let’s hope that one of the best representations of Art Deco in Detroit is at least saved. Further Reading Lee Plaza: http://www.abandonedonline.net/commercial/lee-plaza/
  2. Yay! Nothing like... pollution. Easily recognizable... at least in Detroit.
  3. Some recent images... some taken tonight. Centrepointe Centrepointe is a $250 million, 823,000 sq. ft. 35-story high-rise tower under construction in downtown. November 15, 2008 Biological Pharmaceutical Complex Building The Biological Pharmaceutical Complex Building, or BPCB, is a five-story building at the University of Kentucky along South Limestone adjacent to the Biomedical Biological Science Research Building. The $79.9 million building will allow the College of Pharmacy to relocate, and when completed in December 2009, it will be the largest academic building in Kentucky and one of the largest in the nation. November 15, 2008 Student Health Facility The Student Health Facility at the University of Kentucky opened in May 2008. November 15, 2008 Albert B. Chandler Hospital Opened in 1962, the Albert B. Chandler Hospital along Rose Street at the University of Kentucky is a component of the University of Kentucky Hospital (UK HealthCare), encompassed within the Chandler Medical Center. Ground was broken in 2007 for twin 12-story patient towers, which will be as large as an 18-story structure. November 15, 2008 Charles T. Wethington, Jr. Building The Charles T. Wethington, Jr. Building (Allied Health/Aging), opened in February 2003, is at the corner of Rose and South Limestone Streets. It houses the College of Health Sciences and other offices and laboratories. November 15, 2008 Bonus... Cincinnati, taken on November 14, 2008. Enjoy!
  4. Centrepointe becomes more classical, taller Authored by Sherman Cahal at UrbanUp on November 12, 2008 Centrepointe grew up. Literally. In what the Webb Companies has called the "final design," Centrepointe has added a distinctive peak and spire into the mix, replacing a flat roof. In addition, the podium has been reduced to three floors to accommodate taller heights for hotel functions, classical columns were added to the entrance along Main Street, and an elevated pedway that was to cross South Limestone Street to the Phoenix parking garage has been buried. The amount of condominiums has also been increased in the revision as well, taking into account the popularity of one-bedroom residences and demand that (will) hopefully return to the housing market by the time Centrepointe is completed in 2010. The changes were filed with the Courthouse Area Design Review office and approved. Core drilling for Centrepointe continues although it is winding down and should be completed within a few days. Foundation removal is still ongoing, and is slightly delayed due to the robust foundation of the former Graves structure. In my opinion, the changes were wonderfully executed in the design. The addition of more traditional elements to the skyscraper, such as the columns, the spire and the revised motif has given Centrepointe a more refined feel. The reduction of the podium in terms of the number of floors, even if to give greater height to the hotel function rooms, should be more comparable to other downtown properties.
  5. It was originally Festival Market. Here is my article on it -- The Triangle Center is primarily an office complex with several restaurants and a coffee shop in downtown Lexington. Originally envisioned as a shopping and dining complex bound by Broadway, East Main and South Mill Streets, it was constructed by the Webb Cos. It was to compliment adjacent Victorian Square which had opened only one year prior.[1] It was first announced on October 1, 1984 by the Webb Cos. as a 'festival marketplace' with boutiques, shops, and food kiosks.[2] The Festival Marketplace, was it was first named, was a combined effort by the developer with the Lexington Financial Center to replace the failed Galleria project. It was to be modeled after Harbor Place in Baltimore, Maryland, Waterside in Norfolk, Virginia, Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts and Toledo, Ohio's Portside. The open-air yet enclosed 114,000 sq. ft. structure could contain numerous small shops, a food court with a common dining area and a restaurant or a nightclub;[2] a farmers market was also once considered as a possible tenant. In addition to the marketplace, $7.5 million in state aid was announced by then-Governor Martha Layne Collins towards the construction of a six-level parking structure that would serve Festival Marketplace and the Lexington Financial Center.[2] It opened in 1986.
  6. ^ Yeah they do... Links provided go to the building or district at UrbanUp. 1. National City Bank taken from the Lexington Downtown Corporation roof. 2. Main and Rose Lofts, taken from the roof of the Lexington Downtown Corporation. I will gather more photos in the evening that will better represent the width of the structure. This was originally planned for seven stories but was constructed as four -- but it's enormous size is still a tremendous asset. Crews have completed most of the work on the building -- including the city's first "back in" parking spaces. I assume those are for those who want to load groceries from a planned urban corner market. I personally love the industrial design of the building. They did this very well and it resembles the building stock that once existed along Vine Street. 3. And to think, Main and Rose was once a giant surface parking lot. 4. Christ Church Apartments for the elderly. This is where I voted 5. The modern front to the Lexington Center. This was recently rehabilitated from a 1970s glass-box design to one that is more harmonious to the streetscape. The big box in the back is Rupp Arena, which could be replaced by 2012. It was not renovated with the Lexington Center project and it is showing its age. 6. The old front was HIDEOUS. 7. Hyatt, which is undergoing interior renovations. 8. Victorian Square, which has fine dining, shops and art galleries under one roof. It is a series of restored Victorian-esque structures combined into one. 9. The Kincaid Towers is a 22-floor high-rise in Lexington, Kentucky. It is located along Vine Street between Broadway and Mill Street. Its exterior is polished buff concrete with blue tinted glass, with terraces on the 5th, 10th, 14th, and 21st floor. 10. Phase one of the 500's on the Main project, adjacent to Victorian Square and the Lexington Center. 11. The spire and additional buildings will be constructed soon in phase two. 12. Ah... where I live. Downtown Lexington. Looking west along Main Street in downtown Lexington. 13. I fudgeing hated getting up to the top of the World Trade Center. Ladders suspended many, many feet above a never-ending staircase. And I'm afraid of heights. One building was a ladder... the other was a staircase. Go figure. From left to right: Lexington Center, 500's on the Main, and Victorian Square. 14. Looking along South Broadway. The massive parking lot on the right is part of Rupp Arena and it replaced hundreds of homes from the historic South Hill district. It is slated for redevelopment eventually. 15. Looking along Vine Street at the haphazard building styles. Vine Street was once a railroad corridor for the city, and when the tracks were removed, major urban renewal began that removed most of the historic and warehouse-styled buildings that are so very much desired today. That white stub of a building houses U.S. Attorneys offices. It is a POS and was just a basic steel frame (suburban buildings are built better than this) with a faux "stone" facade that was prefabricated and placed by a crane. 16. Triangle Center is in the foreground and was a planned shopping center. 17. More coming next week!
  7. You can find my newest downtown photos at my web-site, UrbanUp, here. 1. Central Business District, looking west towards Lexington Financial Center. 2. A view of the northern Lexington region. The street running northeast is Limestone and has seen an uptick in building restorations and investments. 3. Looking towards the Vine Street corridor, which consists primarily of newer office structures. This was formerly the Chesapeake and Ohio rail line, which were removed in the late 1960s. Hundreds of structures that would have been adaptable to lofts today were demolished, and has been called the city's "biggest regret." 4. Central Business District. 5. Old Fayette National Bank Building. Was the city's tallest for many, many years. 6. A void created by the demolition of Woolworth's. The store closed in the mid 1990s after being restored in the early 1990s (...), and was demolished ~2003. The lot (and the bottom right corner store and attachments) are owned by The Webb Cos., the city's largest developer (they developed the Lexington Financial Center). Most of the remaining buildings are vacant and are not that historical, and will most likely be demolished in a few years for a new development project. 7. Our Courthouse complex takes up two blocks and has a nice plaza with water features. 8. Rupp Arena/Lexington Center. The massive parking lot to the south now qualifies for TIF so it stands to be redeveloped. 9. My downtown, looking east, from my apartment complex. It is one of the tallest buildings in the city Many more photos coming later this week! Stay tuned to this thread!
  8. seicer

    Museum Plaza

    Construction to begin on skyscraper that will dominate skyline By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press Writer, October 24, 2007 Groundbreaking for the flamboyant 62-story Museum Plaza skyscraper will be held tomorrow. Forget the typical ceremony where dignitaries dig up bits of soil: this one will feature a 20-foot-long, 400-pound shovel hanging from a 200-foot crane that will drop into a pile of dirt. The $490 million, 700+-foot skyscraper will dominate the city's skyline, and feature a trio of towers and glass elevators operating at an angle that will shuttle people to a 25th-floor lobby that will serve as a main entrance to a contemporary arts center, 260-room hotel and restaurants. It will also contain retail stores, 97 luxury condominiums, 65 loft condominiums, offices and the University of Louisville's master of fine arts program. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2010. "Museum Plaza's avant-garde design will make it an instant landmark," said Mayor Jerry Abramson, who is scheduled to attend the groundbreaking along with Gov. Ernie Fletcher. "It's a dream come true," said Steve Wilson, who is developing the skyscraper with his wife, Laura Lee Brown, attorney Craig Greenberg and businessman Steve Poe. The financing plan for the project includes using a portion of new taxes generated that would be rebated to the developers. The tax revenue would finance up to $150 million in public project improvements, including a new park, a parking structure, floodwalls, and minor street realignments. The remainder of the costs would be covered through bonds and private sources, and income from the condos, hotel and office tenants. There are currently $5 billion worth of projects under way or about to start across the city, including $2.1 billion in downtown alone. Some downtown projects include a $252 million, 22,000-seat arena, expansion of Fourth Street Live!, and a new retail and commercial district near the arena. Museum Plaza will be the first skyscraper built in Louisville since the 35-story Aegon Tower opened in 1993. Some were not pleased with the building's radical design, however. One critic stated that his children had built similar designs with Legos, but urban design expert Patrick Piuma predicted that most skeptics will be won over just as they were with the Humana building with its pink granite exterior. "If it was just going to be another big cube that they put up, it wouldn't be worth anybody's attention," said Piuma, director of the Urban Design Studio, a joint project of the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky and Louisville metro government that's designed to promote smart growth and good design. Piuma said the new skyscraper will be an attention-grabber.
  9. Community explores extensive downtown redevelopment opportunity Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, October 22, 2007 The Board of the Downtown Development Authority will hear a presentation today about plans to develop a tax increment financing district -- a tool that allows cities to redevelop extensive areas that have deteriorated. Harold Tate, President and Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority, said he has been working with Lexington Center and city officials as to the feasibility and appropriate boundaries of such a district. A
  10. seicer

    Museum Plaza

    Museum Plaza to start with flair By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, October 21, 2007 Thursday is the day, when developers of the Museum Plaza skyscraper will break ground on the 703-feet 62-story tower. The first 500 attending will receive free barbecue and commemorative hard hats. A helicopter hovering 703 feet above the street will beam live footage to screens on the ground, offering a glimpse of views from a height equivalent to the skyscraper's top floor. The University of Louisville
  11. W. Main to get more housing: Pub also planned on same block By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, October 21, 2007 Two buildings at the northeast corner of Second and Main streets (131 and 127 W. Main) will be renovated into 32 condominiums and apartments, while a third building immediately to their east will be converted to a pub and restaurant (123 W. Main). 119-101 W. Main is the planned site of Iron Quarter, which investor Todd Blue wants to redevelop into a vibrant office and retail development; the new Arena is only a short walk across the street from the proposed development. The three-story building at 131 W. Main was built around 1875 after the original Galt House on the site burned, and has 37,280 sq. ft. of space. The building was built for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and has 14-foot veilings and an ornamental staircase. It is assessed at $824,000, and is owned by Julie "Valle" Jones and her brother, Stephen Jones. The developers, Joneses, also have a contract to buy the adjoining three-story building at 127 W. Main from Richard and Cynthia Weller. The Wellers operated a company there called Burwinkle Hendershot that closed last November. The company, which sold food-packaging material, had operated at the site since 1943. The building also dates to around 1875 and has 34,000 square feet of space. The building at 131 W. Main will feature an interior courtyard; both buildings will be extensively restored. The facades of the two buildings would be preserved, as would entrances to both buildings from both Main and Washington streets. The 131 and 127 W. Main Street buildings will feature 32 dwellings on the upper floors. and include the construction of one penthouse atop each building. Street-level commericial space is planed at 131 W. Main, and ground level parking is slated at 127 W. Main. An exterior fire escape will be removed and interior sprinklers added. The street-level tenant in the 131 W. Main building will continue to be Bearno's By the Bridge. The pizza restaurant has been on the corner next to the Clark Memorial Bridge approach since 1997. The restaurant recently underwent a $250,000 renovation and also signed a 10-year lease extension. A pub/restaurant is expected to open late next summer at 123 W. Main. The building was purchased a year ago by brothers Tom and Mike O'Shea and Dave Zimmerman. They already own O'Shea's Traditional Irish Pub and Flanagan's Ale House, both on Baxter Avenue, and Brendan's in St. Matthews. The four-story building probably will have a total of four residential units on the upper two floors and rental space for parties and private catered functions on level two, above the ground-floor pub/restaurant. Bill Weyland is the project architect and also will be a partner in the venture. Weyland has been involved in other projects, including the Glassworks and the Henry Clay complex. The group plans on placing the two building on the National Register of Historic Places to make the investors eligible for federal tax breaks on part of the renovation cost. Work could begin in a year and be complete by 2010, when the new arena and Iron Quarter are completed. The Waterfront Development Corp. board of directors will review the project design later this month, and the agency's architectural-review committee has recommended approval of the design. The only building on the north side of the 100 block of West Main for which renovation plans have not been announced is at 121 W. Main. It is owned by DKH Properties. For the Iron Quarter project, Blue plans to renovate six buildings in the eastern half of the 100 block of West Main, plus the vacant corner lot at First and Main where an old building was demolished after a wall collapsed several years ago. The buildings feature cast-iron fronts. Blue said the cost of the project has increased to more than the $50 million announced in March.
  12. seicer

    Museum Plaza

    Electrical towers will vanish: Change will aid Museum Plaza By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, October 6, 2007 The trademark pair of electrical towers to the west of the Muhammad Ali Center will soon be removed. The two steel towers will be demolished and moved underground under a $16 million plan approved by Louisville Gas & Electric and the developers of the Museum Plaza skyscraper, which will be located adjacent to the electrical tower and Ali site. LG&E and Museum Plaza will split the cost to move the towers' function to an underground unit just south of the terminal tower near River Road and Eighth Street. LG&E's share is a "small fraction" and the cost of the project will not be passed onto the customers. Construction on the underground unit should begin in January and be finished in December 2008. After that, the terminal tower and transmission tower between Interstate 64 and the Ohio River north of 10th Street will be removed. The removal will allow Museum Plaza developers to extend a public park and promenade to Eighth Street, and remove a structure that would have risen above the plaza. The new underground station would be linked with a substation being built at Third Street and River Road, and will allow LG&E to install more reliable equipment that requires less maintenance. Museum Plaza, a 62-story, $490 million complex planned for River Road and Seventh Street, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on October 25. Before that date, however, the developers will need the state's approval on a plan to use a share of future tax revenues to pay for public infrastructure. Kentucky's tax increment finance commission gave initial approval to the Museum Plaza tax plan at a meeting last week, and project officials say they expect a follow-up meeting to occur the week of Oct. 15.
  13. The Ohio River Bridges Project, consisting of the new Interstate 265 East End Bridge, the southbound Interstate 65 Bridge, and the redesigned Kennedy Interchange, will now cost $4.1 billion. Tolling is now being seriously considered an option, as a way to speed up construction. Construction could begin next year under a tolling plan. Downtown Bridge (updated Funding) East End Bridge (updated Funding)
  14. Personal comment: Where does Phillips expect students to live? With the university not able to afford additional housing projects or replace aging structures, the private sector must play catch-up. The 2050 Plan for the University calls for a lot of student housing, clustered around the Kirwan-Blanding complex, out by Commonwealth Stadium and along Scott Street, and replacements of many housing structures, but there is no funding for these projects. These same people clamour that students are overtaking suburban apartment complexes, trashing them and then clogging traffic commuting in to the university. They also state that there traffic and parking problems near campus due to all the students, thanks to a lack of parking at UK, but are unwilling to bend for a solution. IMO, going to the private sector to alleviate student housing crises and to invite more students to live closer to downtown, is a wise idea. More students can be served in this manner, and it saves bonding power that the university can use for student-housing replacement projects.
  15. Kentucky Theater to get new life By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, September 24, 2007 Ed Lewis and George Stinson have owned the Kentucky Theater on Fourth Street for 15 years but admit it is time for change. They are converting the 1920s-era building that was once a movie theater into the Marketplace at Theater Square, and have lined up six tenants and have leased out all 12,000 sq. ft. of space available. The first three shops should open by Thanksgiving and the other three, which include a gourmet grocery store and deli, should open by early 2008. Many businesses have been located since the movie theater closed in the 1970s at Theater Square, but Stinson believes the Marketplace can thrive by drawing customers from the nearby Louisville Palace and Brown Theatre, and by tapping into the tourist and convention traffic, downtown workers and residents. Stinson also believes that the success of new businesses and residences along E. Main and E. Market streets, and the recent redevelopment of the Henry Clay (the old YWCA) at Third and Chestnut streets, will keep the Marketplace thriving. The "Kentucky" marquee will be restored and raised to a higher level. The front third of the building, the old two-level lobby, will feature three shops. A kiosk-style bagel shop, flower and gift store, and a wine and cheese shop will be located at the front. The back, where the stage and its 200 seats await removal, will house a bakery, gourmet grocery and a deli.
  16. ^ A lot of what you saw is being restored. Upper Limestone from Main Street towards Transylvania's campus is undergoing a vibrant transformation, and there are new restaurants (expensive ones at that) and boutiques that is breathing new life into a once desolate area. Much was destroyed though in the urban renewal projects of the 1960s and 1970s, which the mayor has referred to it as the worst disaster to ever hit the city. Vine Street was all but destroyed, along with an entire neighborhood next to Rupp Arena that is now one gigantic parking lot. Great pics!
  17. seicer

    Museum Plaza

    Museum Plaza start is near By Marcus Green, Courier-Journal, September 16, 2007 Developers of the Louisville Museum Plaza project will break ground on October 25, and plan on beginning construction soon after. Project officials still need state approval before work can begin, however. The team behind the 62-story avant-garde tower will be opening a sales center at 707 W. Main St. next month, and will feature an artist's rendering of life-size views from the building's 25th floor. It will replicate a view from the contemporary arts center. It will cost $490 million to build Museum Plaza, a 5% increase from an earlier $465 million estimate. Private investment, income from condominiums, a hotel and office tenants and a portion of future taxes will cover the increase in cost. A financing tool called tax increment financing would set aside a portion of new taxes generated at the site, including a share of hotel room taxes collected at the planned Westin, and would cover only public infrastructure improvements, such as a River Road extension and a nearby floodwall. Museum Plaza officials originally thought that the taxing district would generate $130 million for public infrastructure improvements, but the application now asks for more. The tax increment financing still needs state approval. Once that is settled, bonds can be finalized and sold. Tax increment financing does not establish new taxes or raise taxes within the district, and a portion of the new taxes generated above the amount now collected on the site will be used to pay off public infrastructure for 30 years. The Museum Plaza project will be complete by late 2010. Developers have spent $18 million of their own money so far.
  18. Tunnel bids top estimates: Work is part of bridge project By Marcus Green, The Courier-Journal, September 20, 2007 Both companies that bid on building an exploratory tunnel as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project expect the work to cost at least 39% more than original estimates from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The 1,800-foot-long exploratory tunnel will chart the route for a 2,000-foot six-lane highway tunnel for Interstate 265, north of where the Gene Snyder Freeway ends at U.S. Route 42. Crews would use the tunnel to test the strength of the limestone and shale under U.S. Route 42 and under the Drumanary estate. Construction had initially been scheduled to begin this summer and be finished by spring 2009. Kiewit Construction Co., of Omaha, Neb., made the low bid of $19.5 million earlier this month, more than $5 million above the state projections of about $14 million. The Kenny Construction Co. of Northbrook, Ill., bid $28.5 million. The Ohio River Bridges project has an estimated price tag of $3.9 billion, and includes a parallel Interstate 65 span, a new Interstate 265 bridge and tunnel and a redesigned Spaghetti Junction interchange. Costs have increased by nearly 60% since last December.
  19. Courthouse gets makeover: 2 plazas added, exterior repaired By Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal, September 14, 2007 The old Jefferson County Courthouse is being restored to its former glory. As part of phase one of the restoration project, numerous 11 large magnolias, 10 pears and 6 dogwoods others that were sprawled out on the grounds were cut -- removing the numerous starlings that called the tree home and polluted the ground with their droppings. Some trees, especially the dogwoods, had deteriorated considerably. The intent of the tree removal is to return the building to the designer's original intent: to present an unobstructed view of the building north of Jefferson Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. In the trees place, two small plazas on the west and east sides of the courthouse were constructed and filled with colorful flowers and plants. The city is spending $500,000, proceeds from a bond issue, to also repair the stucco on the south side of the courthouse, which houses the offices of Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson. Approximately 40% of the courthouse's exterior stucco surface has been repaired, and a coat of sealant was applied to fix problems relating to a "very porous limestone" that let water seep into the building. During work involving the new landscaping, crews recently unearthed two bronze markers on the courthouse lawn. One has been cleaned and is now visible. One honors WHAS radio staff member Pete Monroe for his work during the 1937 flood, and the other was erected by the American War Mothers to honor the heroes of World War I. Phase one began in spring 2006 and is winding down. Phase two will include an additional $700,000 to complete the exterior treatment, and should begin in 2008. The courthouse's construction dates to 1836 and proceeded in stages, with completion in 1860. The original architect was Gideon Shryock.
  20. Developers selected to build Liberty Green project homes By Sheldon S. Shafer, Courier-Journal [Louisville], September 8, 2007 Two developers, who have been part of prior significant downtown projects in Louisville, have been chosen to build as many as 380 condos and single-family homes in the mixed-use Liberty Green project. The Housing Authority of Louisville pocked companies headed by architect Bill Weyland of Louisville and Holly Wiedemann of Lexington to develop most of the remaining land available in the project. Weyland was the architect and lead partner in the redevelopment of the old YWCA building and the Glassworks project, and was also the designer of the Louisville Slugger Museum and baseball bat plant. Wiedemann redeveloped the old YMCA and is developing the Artek Lofts project in downtown Lexington. The new condos and homes will complete the redevelopment of the former Clarksdale public housing project into a new neighborhood that will serve downtown, the medical center, and the burgeoning Main-Market cultural corridor. So far, about 120 rentals have been built, and 100 of them are currently occupied. Construction on the first 18 condominiums along Hancock Street between Jefferson Street and Muhammad Ali Blvd. could be underway by year's end and be complete by fall 2008. The condos will sell for $120,000 to $300,000, with the initial units to be three-story rowhouses. The plans call for one-floor flats on the ground level, and two-story townhouses above, and will include patios and exteriors of stone and brick. Owners will be able to choose the facade design, the number of windows, and colors and materials. Financing is coming from federal tax credits and low-interest loan money from a city housing fund. National City Bank has agreed to provide mortgages on some of the initial housing to the buyers at 1.5% below the prevailing market rate. The first phase will include approximately 160 condos in nine clusters along Hancock, and cost $20 million to construct. They should be fully occupied in three to five years. It will also include two four- or five-story mixed-use structures, one on the northwest corner and one on the southwest corner of Jefferson and Hancock, and will have retail, medical office and condo space. Plans for the second phase of the housing, slated to go on the west side of Shelby between Jefferson and Ali, also is uncertain, but will include an additional 220 units and be built from 2012 to around 2017.
  21. A developing story: High profile projects helped spark big changes By Beverly Fortune, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 4, 2007 Five years ago, South Hill would not have attracted many newcomers to the downtown housing market. The neighborhood, settled between the University of Kentucky and downtown, had a mix of restored historic houses and run-down properties, student housing, and blocks of empty, derelict tobacco warehouses. There were a few scattered businesses, including Dudley's restaurant, Pedal Power, and Bella Rose, but there was little to no new investment. But today, South Hill is being transformed into a diverse, bustling urban area that has seen 250 new residential units, enterainment options, shopping venues, restaurants, and bars open within the past few years. And even more is planned. A combination of factors has fueled the resurgence at South Hill: young professionals and couples without children that are looking to move from the suburbs to the city at reasonably-priced properties. In February 2002, the city of Lexington and the University of Kentucky agreed to fund a $200,000 College-Town Plan to study ways to revitalize the area between downtown and the university. South Hill occupies part of that area, and the goal of the plan was to create a physical and financial bridge between the university, with its thousands of students, and downtown merchants, restaurants and clubs. the consultant for the study said that every redevelopment needs a "spark" to jumpstart lasting change, and it was not identified in the study what that "spark" would be. But many in South Hill believe that the "spark" came from Lexington lawyer-turned-developer Bill Lear and partner Jim Phelps who developed South Mill Commons, a multi-part development that includes upscale townhouses and apartments, tree-lined streets, gardens, and en emphasis on owner-occupied housing along South Mill Street. At first, 20 townhouses were built on South Mill and Pine streets, then came the $20 million CenterCourt, with its 72 condominiums and 13,000 sq. ft. of retail. Phase two with 84 condominiums and townhouses will start in the next 60 days. Lear's interest in South Hill came about when he represented a developer who wanted to build a controversial suburban-style student housing project on South Mill. Elsewhere, work progresses on Kimball House Square, a $12 million redevelopment on S. Limestone and S. Upper. When completed, it will feature 36 residential condos and 12,000 sq. ft. of retail. 68% of the units have been pre-sold. Blue Grass Cigar Company warehouse on Lawrence Street is being converted into four condominiums that will sell in the $400,000 range, and plans are on the drawing board for a townhouse project on Macks Alley. And on nearby S. Upper Street, many deteriorated houses are being restored. Businessman Ben Kaufmann, who owns about 30 properties in South Hill, credits developer Rob Mcgoodwin as the first to see opportunity in the once-declining neighborhood. McGoodwin purchased a tobacco warehouse on Bolivar St. in 1993 and turned it into a retail center with Lazer Quest as the anchor in 1995. He closed Lazer Quest in 2003 to undertake a $5.5 million project to turn the tobacco warehouse into 86 loft-style rental apartments called University Lofts. In the adjoining tobacco warehouse, he created 66 loft condominiums called South Hill Station. All but 15 condos have been sold. Just a few years ago, properties along S. Upper were a bargin. So many were badly neglected, that the asking price was quite low. One example is a house at 356 S. Upper that was purchased two years ago for a mere $150,000. A developer spent $450,000 to restore to the building and convert it into a duplex, and the 1,800 sq. ft. units are now for sale for $350,000 each. Another project that will soon be underway is to restore a house that was once divided into 12 student apartments; the end result with be three condos and a courtyard. But that doesn't mean it's all going well. Earlier this summer, a historic church on S. Upper was demolished to make way for a suburban fast-food restaurant, Cane's Chicken Fingers.
  22. Housing plan angers residents: Developers intend to raze residences, put up student apartments By Beverly Fortune, Lexington Herald-Leader, August 25, 2007 Map of proposed location Developers would like to convert a deteriorated mobile home park off of S. Broadway and convert the property into a student housing complex. Ingleside Mobile Home Park, which has been a chronic code violator for years, is in poor condition. In 2000, the city condemned 32 of the 87 mobile homes in the park. In 2005, the State Fire Marshal found electrical hazards including electrical boxes without covers. Raw sewage was also found on the ground. In early 2007, inspectors noted many of the same issues from years past, and 20 mobile homes were condemned as a result. The mobile home park opened in the 1940s, carved out of property surrounding the Ingelside Castle, which was built in 1852. The once-famous house was demolished in 1964. The new development, called Devonshire Apartments, would contain 190 two- and three-bedroom apartments on 6.8 acres on Devonshire Avenue. The units will be between 900 and 1,100 sq. ft. and will be market-rate units that will appeal to students and young professionals. It is within a 15-minute walk of the University of Kentucky campus. A preliminary development plan for the Devonshire apartments will be presented Tuesday, and will be heard by the full planning commission on September 13. The S. Broadway corridor has become a popular student housing corridor. Newtown Crossing, University Commons (180 apartments), South Hill Station Lofts (50 condos), University Lofts (86 loft apartments), and Huntington Apartments (132 apartments, with expansion of 240 apartments set). CenterCourt, at Upper and Bolivar, opens next week with 150 condos, and Phase II of CenterCourt will begin shortly. Shelbourne Plaza, at S. Broadway and Bolivar, will feature 320 apartments, and a project on Angliana Avenue will have 400 units.
  23. Plan addresses traffic, housing, industry: Hearing planned for master guide By Sheryl Edelen, The Courier-Journal [Louisville], August 22, 2007 Louisville city officials will soon unveil a master plan outlining long-term improvements to an area south of Broadway, between Old Louisville and downtown. The area, known locally as "SoBro," short for South of Broadway, is a L-shaped neighborhood bounded by Interstate 65, 9th Street, Hill Street, Kentucky Street, and Broadway. It is considered vital due to its location north of the University of Louisville. The task force recommendations include, 1. Convert one-way streets to two-way. 2. Create bicycle and pedestrian paths. 3. Encourage institutions along Fourth Street to consider joint parking arrangements. 4. Focus on housing developments with public and private money. 5. Create mixed-income housing along 5th and 6th streets between York and Kentucky streets, except for Ben Washer Park. 6. Create an organization or agency dedicated to the neighborhood's development and improvement. 7. Create of a Green Development Zone program that would provide incentives to build "green" or environmentally friendly buildings in SoBro and other areas of the city. 8. Redevelopment of the neighborhood's dogleg, which stretches to Hill Street between Seventh and Ninth streets, from heavy industrial to a mixture of housing, retail and light industrial. When Old Louisville first drew its boundaries for its neighborhood plan in the 1970s, the "dogleg" was originally left out because it was largely industrial. If the recommendations are approved, the development guidelines will apply for the next 10 to 20 years.
  24. Plans being made to fix up downtown: Return of horse mania among the many projects By Beverly Fortune And Linda Blackford, Lexington Herald-Leader, August 21, 2007 Lexington is aiming to beautify and energize downtown in preparation of the 2010 World Equestrian Games that will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park. The city, whose downtown was gutted by urban renewal more than 30 years ago, will be playing host to 300,000 spectators. The list of improvements is long, including public art, murals, concerts, new sidewalks, new landscaping, and decorated fiberglass sculptures from Horse Mania. The center for these activities will be Phoenix Park at Limestone and Main, and the new courthouse plaza. Organizers have discussed a second medal ceremony that could take place there, which would be a way to lure spectators into the city and entertain residents who didn't see the actual Games. The arts community is also making large plans for 2010. A downtown mural project that involves local artist, LexArts, and the Urban County Government will brighten the walls of many buildings. The details will be announced this fall, and the murals could be applied in late Spring. There will also be changing exhibitions of sculpture that will be placed on Vine Street in a project called "Art on the Vine." This is an effort to get people to begin thinking Vine as a linear park. The first exhibition will be in 2008, if not sooner. The city will also have another Horse Mania, which was a wildly popular project in 2000, when artists painted life-size fiberglass horse statues that were placed all around teh city. The project will d
  25. [Personal comment: Please disregard the reader comments in the news article. It didn't take long for the anti-alcohol readers to come out in full force, despite the fact that there are over a dozen bars and restaurants that serve alcohol within a few block radius...] As downtown gets dwellers, restaurants follow their trail By Beverly Fortune, Herald-Leader [Lexington], August 16, 2007 135 W. Main St. (left), which will host a restaurant. On August 15, architects for a new restaurant planned for 135 W. Main Street and a martini bar across the street from the old Fayette County Courthouse came before the Lexington Courthouse Area Design Review Board. Bobby Freisberg, who owns Dudley Square on S. Mill Street and the art gallery Balatro, purchased the vacant three-level building at 135 W. Main St. in 2005. A restaurant is slated for the first two floors, and offices or residential units on the third. The restaurant would be an "international cafe diner". Property owners around the proposed restaurant will be notified of the proposed changes and a public hearing will be held as part of the approval process. Avena Kiely, owner of Harvey's at W. Main and S. Upper, will open Hugo's martini bar at 206 W. Main. It should be open by Halloween. The design board gave permission to replace all the first floor windows and doors with French doors, and to add three awnings to both 200 and 206 W. Main. -- In related news, the Bang Nightclub at 117 N. Limestone, across from the Lexington courthouse complex, is seeking permission for a change in the design of its facade. [Personal comment: ABOUT TIME! Most of the buildings along N. Limestone near the courthouse are fully restored, sans this out-of-place, and out-of-character 1950s building.]
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