As best we can tell, CentrePointe is back in the news only because permission to build in Lexington's courthouse area is good for a year and the developer's permit runs out early next month.
There has been no announcement that financing is in place for the ambitious project, now a faux pasture, in the heart of downtown.
In submitting the new, scaled-down plans, developer Dudley Webb publicly confirmed for the first time that the financing he had first sought has fallen through.
That's been pretty obvious for some time, certainly since Webb said the project's anonymous international backer had died without a will. Still, it's good to have it on the record.
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Webb says the developers will now pursue more conventional financing.
The unveiling of drawings of the proposed 25-story hotel-condo-apartment-retail-office building will set off a new round of opinions and emotions about its appearance and fit in downtown.
None of that can bring back what's been lost, of course.
It's been almost two years since the CentrePointe site was cleared by demolishing a block of historic buildings, including the 180-year-old Morton's Row and the century-old building that was home to the Dame, a popular music venue.
Since then the Urban County Council has approved an ordinance making it harder to tear down old buildings. No demolition permit can be issued until all the administrative appeals have been exhausted. Had that ordinance been in place two years ago, the plans to raze the historic block could have been fought all the way to the Planning Commission.
On the broader question of what we want downtown to be, how it should look and feel, scant progress has been made in the last two years.
Had there been follow-through on the downtown master plan's recommendation to adopt design guidelines, and a robust review process, the decisions about CentrePointe would be easier. We wouldn't be arguing over the design of a new drugstore at Main and Vine. Investors would have a clearer picture of what to expect when they consider a downtown project.
The council's planning committee recently authorized creation of a task force to study design guidelines and other downtown planning issues.
The task force should include a cross section of interests to be sure there's broad buy-in for the ideas. It will also require some funding and professional staff.
More than ever, lively downtowns are needed to attract the kind of people who drive economic growth. In Lexington, creating compatible new housing and businesses in the city's core is critical to saving a signature rural landscape.
It's important work that can't wait much longer and that will require strong leadership and vision.