Developer Brian Hanna wants you to visit a townhome that has not yet been built.
A simulation of The Midlands townhomes, a group of 46 Craftsman-style townhouses with a gated entry, is in his office on Walton Avenue, just off the construction site.
His office is decorated to give the feel and options available in the 1,500 square-foot townhouses, which are designed to "reflect the architecture reminiscent of the surrounding historic Bell Court, Kenwick and Mentelle Park neighborhoods."
The floor is laminate wood. A black-cabineted butcher block island — technically, the shade is "espresso" — is a focal point in the kitchen, where there are also cabinets and a smidgen of granite to represent the countertop.
Appliances, not represented there, will be smudge-proof stainless steel. A nearby dining table and sitting area complete the mini-townhouse.
Although there are no bathrooms in Hanna's mockup, there will be 21/2 in the finished units, which start at $209,000 — $10,000 more for a corner unit.
Samples of paint colors — warm and cool variations — adorn the walls, along with samples of low-nap shag carpet and exterior designs. Upstairs in the townhouses will be a master suite and a second bedroom with a walk-in closet, bathtub and private toilet nook. Each will also include double-paned windows, ceiling fans and high efficiency electric furnaces.
"I design them from the coat closet out," Hanna said of the townhomes.
The homes — which will be accessed via Midland Avenue, in a turnoff between the Lexington Herald-Leader and Lexington Cut Stone — will also have a garage, fenced-in backyard and the area will include a walking path.
Proposed development in the area has been dormant for years. In 1995, neighbors scuttled a plan by a social service agency to build 52 low-income townhouses on the site. Other past proposals for the site have included a shopping center, warehouses and light industry.
In 2007, Hanna proposed a 126-condominium development for the area. Then the recession hit, and Lexington-area housing took a broadside along with housing nationwide.
"We pulled the plug on it," Hanna said. "We didn't want to take the chance."
Now, Hanna is back with upscale townhouses he thinks will find a market among prospective downtown dwellers including empty-nesters, young professionals and those seeking an occasional Lexington home for access to downtown events.
A second phase of the five-acre project will be a building with commercial space below and 28 condominiums above.
Hanna said he has met with neighborhood representatives numerous times during the planning.
"We're on the same page," he said. "Everybody wants to do the best thing for property values."
Prospective buyers can visit either Hanna's 225 Walton Ave. office or online at Themidlandsliving.com. Reservations are being taken for units. Finished units will probably be available in the spring
"It's pretty unique to have a new townhouse development that is not geared to students," Hanna said. "We're not trying to rent them out."
Shane Lyle, president of the Bell Court Neighborhood Association, said in an email that the board had heard a proposal about Hanna's new plan but had taken no action because, "reaction was mostly positive, as the new development plan had fewer units/acre than the original proposal and had fewer stories."
While Lyle said he has heard some concerns about the potential for increased traffic congestion along Walton Avenue, "I think our neighborhood board understands that the property would ultimately be developed, and we felt that the most recent proposal was an improvement over previous iterations."