Lexington is one step closer to getting a major retailer for outdoor sports.
The Urban County Planning Commission approved a zoning change to allow for Cabela's, an outfitter that specializes in hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports, to build a store near Polo Club and Man o' War boulevards.
The commission also approved a text amendment relating to the construction of Cabela's, and a variance to address height restrictions in that zone.
The site is east of Interstate 75, near Costco.
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The zoning change and text amendment must be approved by the Urban County Council.
The property is being developed by A&M Hamburg LLC. In addition to the 72,000-square-foot Cabela's store, the proposal also includes a five-story mixed use building that will include parking, retail on the first floor, and 150 apartments on the remaining floors.
Nick Nicholson, a lawyer for A&M Hamburg, said if all of the zoning changes are approved, construction of the Cabela's store could start as early as April. An opening date has not been announced, Nicholson said.
Cabela's estimated that 400 new jobs will be created when the store opens.
The stores are typically two stories, with the second floor containing office space, Nicholson said. Cabela's will have approximately 67,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor.
Bill Lear, an attorney for the developers, said many communities try to lure Cabela's, but few get them. Officials with Cabela's have said they want to build a third Kentucky store in Lexington. Cabela's has a store in Louisville, and a second one has been announced in Bowling Green.
Cabela's stores are unique, Lear told the commission Thursday.
"It is not just your usual big-box store," Lear said. "They are built to look like a large hunting or fishing lodge."
Much of the discussion during Thursday's planning commission meeting centered on traffic around Polo Club Boulevard. The city's traffic engineers recommended restricting access so motorists can only make right turns into or out of the property.
Lear told the commission that the intersection was always meant to be open and has remained unrestricted over the years. He also said Cabela's has told the developers that restrictions on how people can enter or exit the property would kill the deal.
The planning commission ultimately decided not to restrict the way people can enter or exit the property.
There was no opposition to the zoning change and other planning commission items from neighbors. The Cabela's store will be next to the Costco store, which opened last October.
The zoning change was from an expansion area to a community center for 14.82 acres for property located near 2500 Polo Club Boulevard. The community-center zoning will allow for a second large retailer in the area. The variance was to address height restrictions. Currently, buildings in a community-center zone may not be more than 48 feet. The variance increases the maximum height to 56 feet for the five-story mixed-use residential and retail building also on the property.
It's not clear when the Urban County Council will vote on the zoning change and the zoning text amendment. It is likely to be in the next few months.
Lawyers for the developers said the Cabela's building would be built first; the five-story mixed-use residential and retail building would be built in the second phase of construction.