A downtown Lexington design board gave its approval Wednesday to minor changes in the design of the long-stalled CentrePointe development.
The Courthouse Area Design Review Board voted unanimously to approve the changes that would allow the Webb Companies, the developer, to change the heights of some buildings in the development. The review board reviews and approves building designs in Lexington’s downtown core.
The new plans, filed last month, call for keeping the same design and configuration — two hotels, an office tower, and restaurant and retail space — but gives the developers flexibility on the number of floors for each building.
If the developers want to change the number of floors above or below the range the board approved Wednesday, they will have to return to the board for approval.
A previous plan called for apartments or condominiums in hotel buildings. The new plans would allow the developers to put those apartments or condominiums on top of the proposed office tower, at the corner of Limestone and Main streets, which was originally planned to be 10 floors.
A proposed hotel, on the corner of Vine and Upper streets, was originally to be 18 stories — a 13-story hotel with five stories of condominiums on top. The plans approved Wednesday would allow the Webb Companies to build an 11- or 12-story hotel. An apartment building and extended stay hotel, on the corner of Upper and Main streets, was originally approved for 12 stories. The new request would decrease the number of floors to seven or eight.
Under the new plans, the office tower could be between eight and 12 stories. That would allow the developers to add two or three stories of apartments or condominiums or none, said Dana Rector, an architect with Rabun, Rasche, Rector and Reese of Atlanta.
Rector said the preferred design is nine stories of office space with three stories of condominiums or apartments.
Members of the board applauded the changes. Some said decreasing the number of floors in the buildings decreased the scale. The size of the proposed hotel buildings and how they work with surrounding buildings on Main Street has been a concern in previous board meetings. The CentrePointe design has been before the board at least a half dozen times since it was originally proposed nearly eight years ago.
“I think it gets better every time we see it,” said Graham Pohl, a board member. Pohl recommended some minor design changes to the proposed extended-stay hotel. Other board members had questions about the loading dock for the hotels and the office tower, which have changed several times. Rector said the larger hotel will have a loading dock and the office building will have a separate loading dock.
Questions about how the development will be financed have dogged the project since it was originally announced in 2008. Dudley Webb, one of the developers, has previously said the Webb Cos. and Joe Rosenberg, who owns much of the land for CentrePointe, have raised the money privately to build the three-story underground parking garage, which is under construction. The group still plans to ask the Kentucky League of Cities to issue bonds to recoup their investment after the garage is completed, Webb said.
The garage will take at least seven months to complete, Webb has said. Once it is completed, the hotels, office tower, restaurant and retail space will be built on top of the garage, he said.
The goal is to have construction completed in 2018. The hotels would be open in the fall of 2018.