New company, restaurant opening in Chase Tower

The Chase bank building in downtown Lexington has two new tenants, including a restaurant to replace the recently closed Bakers 360.

Kentucky Spirit Health Plan, one of three managed-care companies hired by the state to serve Medicaid participants, will soon take up more than 36,000 square feet of office space on the two floors above the building's parking garage.

The company, which has been working with customers since its three-year deal began Nov. 1, is a subsidiary of Missouri-based Centene Corp. It has hired 190 local workers, who are working from temporary office space, said Marty White, vice president of external affairs. The job types range from call center workers to medical managers and social workers. In all, the company will have a little more than 200 employees once it's in its space in the first quarter of 2012, he said.

On the top floor along with Kentucky Spirit Health Plan will be Vue Restaurant, owned by some of the former investors in Bakers 360 and a new investor.

"The prices are a lot different," general manager Travis Hall said. "We're making it more an everyday place to come eat and not just a special occasion type of place. If you want to come and get that steak and lobster tail and spend $50, you can, but you can also just get a hamburger and a side salad."

DJs will perform on Friday and Saturday nights.

President Al Isaac of NAI Isaac, which negotiated the deal on behalf of the landlord, said this could be the start of improved occupancy at the Chase building. He said NAI Isaac is negotiating to fill an additional 35,000 square feet in the building.

"The occupancy at Chase Tower has risen to 66 percent, and we expect to increase occupancy to 80 percent in the near future," Isaac said.