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Angliana Avenue development gets preliminary nod

A proposed development that would put a multi-screen theater, a bowling alley, restaurants, stores and apartments on Angliana Avenue breezed through a preliminary approval from the Planning Commission on Thursday.

Next stop: the Urban County Council, possibly as early as next week, to start an application for tax increment financing to pay for things such as burying transmission power lines and building a pedestrian bridge across railroad tracks.

The project is in an area once dominated by tobacco warehouses. One warehouse that a member of the city's planning staff described as exceptionally well-built will be converted into shops and restaurants.

The developer behind the project is George Krikorian, who has built a string of theater complexes in Southern California, some combining new construction and renovated buildings. He breeds and trains racehorses in Woodford County.

If approvals go smoothly, work on the project could begin early next year, said Christine Westover, an attorney who represents Krikorian.

Westover repeatedly stressed that the project is close to both the University of Kentucky and downtown Lexington. Her client hopes to include a grocery store in the project, she said.

Only three people not connected to the development spoke before the commission, and they all supported the project.

"This project will transform a tired and economically depressed industrial corridor into a dynamic urban space," said Knox van Nagell, who represents The Fayette Alliance.

Jon Sterling, who owns property near the proposed development, said he thought the project would be popular.

"I'm sure if you polled the students, they would love it," he said.

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