Former Lexington vice mayor Mike Scanlon said he had more than 40 trees cut down on a 2.7-acre lot at Midland Avenue and Short Street last week as a prelude to developing the property, but he has no definite plans yet.
“We are just cleaning up that block, taking down the trees. ... In a couple of weeks, we’ll smooth out the hills, grass it up, try to make that place look like it ought to as a gateway into Lexington,” Scanlon said Monday. “Those trees were pretty ugly. When we’re done, it will look like somebody owns it and takes care of it.”
The long-term plan for the lot is to develop it, possibly with affordable homes, he said. He plans to meet this fall with Community Ventures, which is planning a mixed-use development at Midland and East Third, and with neighborhood and downtown leaders to get input. The site is next to Northeastern Park and across from Thoroughbred Park.
“That’s going to be an iconic property. You don’t want to put just a piece-of-junk building there,” Scanlon said Ideas for the property range from a mid-level hotel to office space, retail or mid-range housing, he said.
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“If I were wanting some new office space downtown and they wouldn’t let me in CentrePointe, I would build right there,” he said. Or: “This would be a wonderful place for affordable housing. I don’t mean cheap houses built badly to be rented for a lot of money. I mean smaller houses, built energy-efficient. Where people don’t have all their money tied up in a mortgage.”
Scanlon has put the parcels of land together over the past decade and has waited for the area to begin to revive, which it has with projects at both ends of Midland. Scanlon said it’s unlikely that his property will be developed into just one building, given the size.
“The worst thing you could do would put a Walgreens on it,” he said.