Lexington officials expect to name an architectural and engineering firm soon for the city's $30 million overhaul of the former Fayette County Courthouse on Main Street downtown.
During an update at a Tuesday Urban County Council work session, Jenifer Wuorenmaa, who works for chief administrative officer Sally Hamilton, told the council that seven firms responded to requests for proposals and the list has been narrowed to two firms.
She said officials hope that a firm will be named in the next week or two. The council ultimately will have to approve that contract, likely sometime in September.
As part of its recently approved budget, the council included $22 million in borrowing for an overhaul of the courthouse that has been shuttered to the public since 2012.
City officials selected AU Associates, a Lexington firm that specializes in reuse and affordable housing projects, and CityVisions Associates of Louisville, as project managers in April.
The city is trying to take part in federal and state tax credits that could pay for the rest of the cost. But to take part in those tax credit programs, the city has to move quickly.
A government cannot claim tax credits for the project. That's why AU Associates and CityVisions are essential to help create a separate for-profit entity. Mayor Jim Gray will name the board of directors, and the council will have to confirm those members.
Once named, the architectural and engineering firm will begin working on designs and AU Associates and CityVisions will work on identifying and securing possible tenants.
A March study — by EOP Architects and Preservation Design Partnership, a Philadelphia firm — said years of neglect and poorly executed renovations had left the courthouse in disrepair.
Construction costs include a new roof; an overhaul of the electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems; and restoration of the masonry on the outside of the building.