First look: Go inside City Center’s 8,000 sq. ft. condos in the sky. What’s coming next?

See progress on the new City Center condos

Get a sneak peek at construction of condominiums at the top of the new City Center in downtown.
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Get a sneak peek at construction of condominiums at the top of the new City Center in downtown.

For sale: The sky. With luxury finishes, secure entry, underground parking and possibly some interesting neighbors.

Price: The base cost for a City Center condominium is about $180 per square foot but the final price will depend on how fancy you want to live. Carrara marble? That’s an upgrade. Fancy appliances or plumbing? Also upgrades. Half a million will get you a luxury one-bedroom but for real elbow room, it will take a bit more.

There are 15 condos in the new $200 million Main Street development, which will begin opening next month, said developer Dudley Webb, but eight or nine are already spoken for, including two of three penthouse residences.

Developer Dudley Webb in the 8,000 square foot penthouse condominium overlooking Main Street at City Center. This one is spoke for, as are many others. Matt Goins

Webb and his wife, Marla, are taking the 7,000-square-foot penthouse that faces down Limestone to the University of Kentucky campus. Also already taken is the opposite 8,000-square-foot 12th floor condominium, featuring ceilings that swoop up to 15 feet with floor-to-ceiling glass (the same kind as in One World Trade Center in New York) offering panoramic views to the north. Both units have two balconies.

The third, a 1,700-square-foot two-bedroom condo is up for grabs but restaurateur Jeff Ruby, who is opening an eponymous steakhouse on the ground floor, is said to be interested.

The south-facing condos look down on Ruby’s 10,000-square-foot restaurant; west windows face the courtyard for the new Residence Inn and Marriott hotels.

The rooftop pool of the Residence Inn can be seen, top right, as construction continued on the hotels and courtyard Wednesday at City Center in Lexington. Matt Goins

Webb said that at least one condo in the building is going to someone well known but he was coy about who. Is it someone connected to the University of Kentucky?

“Can’t say. That would be giving it away,” Webb would only say.

He said they expect to announce the owners eventually. The condos will be ready for owners to move in late summer or early fall, he said.

What is driving demand for the City Center condos? “Lifestyle,” Webb said. “Carefree living. Room service, maid service. Security. Contiguous parking. The view. And a lot of it’s the surroundings. Downtown is where it is happening now.”

Another big draw, apparently, is all that space. Originally, they planned to have 40 high-end residential condos, Webb said. But people wanted bigger units, which reduced the overall total.

Construction on the development began with the three-floor garage in 2017 and above ground in 2018. The Webbs purchased the city block in 2008 but the development once known as CentrePointe was tied up in a court battle and then struggled for financing after the recession hit. Lexington-based Greer Companies announced last fall that they would invest more than $70 million into the project.

Now that the economy has rebounded, he expects all the condos will sell. “We had about 104 prospects when we started,” Webb said Wednesday. The Webb Companies gave owners in their other existing properties first dibs. “We’re going back through the list now,” he said, “and the phones now starting to ring off the hook.”

Construction continued in the penthouse condominium, which is almost 8,000 square feet, Wednesday at City Center in Lexington. Walls are already going up in some units. Matt Goins

Workers are already putting up walls inside some units where the new owners have decided how to divide the space. “Most of the prospects we’ve worked with are choosing to put their bedrooms up here on the glass line,” Webb said.

Many living rooms will have fireplaces, he said. The floor plans were approved by the city last week.

The building will have other amenities, too, including a private ground floor meeting room with seating for 24 that attaches to Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, which can cater meals there.

Sunscreens with LED lighting, which will illuminate the structure at night, extended from the balcony of a condominium Wednesday at City Center in Lexington. The color of the light can be changed for special occasions. Matt Goins

Between the lobby of the condominiums and the lobby for the offices in the tower, there will be a glass panel etched with a horse farm scene by the late James Archambeault for privacy so the space can also be used for events.

The condos will have separate elevators to reserved spaces in the parking garage and there will be a pedway from the condos to the top floor of the Residence Inn, where there will be the Skybar and a rooftop pool that residents can use.

Residents also will have access to a new, prototype Starbucks and the Keeneland Mercantile Store. Further along Main Street under the Residence Inn will be a Limestone Bank, another retail tenant (likely a jewelery store, Webb said) and an Italian restaurant from the Greers and chef Jonathan Lundy.

The horseshoe-shaped bar, where the Wildcat blue piano will sit, is coming together. The accommodate Jeff Ruby’s antique chandeliers, domes had to be built into the ceiling of the restaurant. Matt Goins

What’s next for City Center?

The sidewalk on Main Street is expected to open in mid-April, as will about 250 spaces of the parking garage.

Starbuck’s and Keeneland store will open in mid- to late April.

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse opens April 20.

The office tower will open May 10, when the first tenant, the Dinsmore law firm, moves in. Other law firms will follow. Eight floors of offices are expected to be about 90 percent leased by then, with several firms moving from other Webb buildings, including the Lexington Financial Center, known as the Big Blue building.

The rest of the 700-space garage will open to the public when the tower crane comes down in June.

The first phase of Town Branch Commons will open along Vine Street this summer.

The 120-suite Residence Inn and the 231-room Marriott and the new restaurants are expected to open in October.

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Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business reporter who also has covered agriculture, gambling, horses and hemp.
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