A developer of Lexington's newest shopping center has given $50,000 to a group raising funds to save and move a mid-century modern bank building.
Bayer Properties — which is developing The Summit at Fritz Farm on Nicholasville Road at Man O' War Boulevard — has donated $50,000 to help save the Peoples Bank building on South Broadway near downtown Lexington.
The donation was part of a complex deal with federal regulators and historic preservationists, the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation announced Tuesday.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reviewed the proposed development plan for The Summit because of stormwater problems. That Army Corp of Engineers process also required a historical review. The Summit property is on the former Fritz Farm, which had a house that would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
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Although that house must be torn down to make way for the new development, as part of an agreement between Bayer, various historic preservation groups and the Army Corp of Engineers, Bayer agreed to make a record of the Fritz Farm's history and put up an educational display on the site.
In addition, the group agreed to donate $50,000 for preservation efforts to save the Peoples Bank building, said Jason Sloan, director of preservation for the Bluegrass Trust. The money will go to the Bluegrass Trust, which will then give it to the Warwick Foundation, Sloan said.
The Warwick Foundation, a nonprofit, is spearheading efforts to save the bank building, move it and turn it into the Peoples Portal, a community center with programming emphasizing inclusion and multicultural awareness.
The donation comes at a key time for the Warwick Foundation and the Peoples Bank building.
On Tuesday, the Urban County Council gave its approval to use $150,000 of city money to help with moving the bank as part of the upcoming budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The bank with its zig-zag roof is one of the few remaining commercial mid-20th century modern structures left in Lexington.
The bank building's fate has been in question for years. The block it sits on — close to Rupp Arena and hotels — has attracted more development.
Earlier this year, a new 12-cinema multiplex was announced for that block. Langley Properties, which owns the bank and the land where the multiplex will go, had planned to raze the bank because the land it sits on was needed for the construction of the movie theater.
Langley Properties eventually gave groups working to save the bank more time to raise the funds and find a site to move it.
The Warwick Foundation is working with the Lexington Center Corp., which owns a parking lot adjacent to the bank, to find a location.
The Warwick Foundation has committed $300,000 to the project, but $250,000 of that is a grant that must be matched. The city has agreed to give $150,000. The Lexington Center Corp. could give $150,000 toward site improvements if a location can be found. The remaining money will come from private donations.
With the Bayer Properties donation, the total amount raised from private sources is $140,000, Catto said. "We've received dozens of $1, $15 and $25 gifts from people who value both the building and its afterlife as the Peoples Portal," Catto said.
The group still needs an additional $110,000 in private donations. It is expected to cost $850,000 to move the bank.
"Our next hurdle is nailing down the specific site in the Rupp District and raising the remaining $110,000 needed to complete the community match, both by a deadline of July 23," Catto said.
Meanwhile, The Summit is expected to break ground in June and likely open in 2016, developers have said.