CentrePointe construction likely to begin in October, developer says

CentrePointe developer Dudley Webb said Thursday afternoon that the downtown building project is likely to begin construction in October.

Webb's confirmation followed a Facebook post Thursday morning by Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator David O'Neill that the long-delayed project "is on!"

Webb met with city officials Thursday morning — a repeat, he said, of a similar meeting five years ago — "to find out what we need to do and what they need to do" to make the construction run smoothly.

The project's next hurdle is securing approval from the city's Courthouse Area Design Review Board at a meeting scheduled for Aug. 21.

"The Webb Companies, Hunt Construction, CMI Architects, EOP Architects and various engineering firms are briefing representatives of every regulatory division of LFUCG," O'Neill wrote. "The 150,000-square-foot office building portion of the project, which will be located at Main and Limestone, has a newly signed tenant that requires occupancy by a date certain; therefore, ground must be broken within weeks to begin construction on the underground garage, which will cover almost the entire two-acre city block."

Thursday morning's meeting included city representatives from building inspection, engineering, planning, water quality, traffic engineering, courthouse overlay, historic preservation and the fire department, according to Derek Paulsen, Lexington's commissioner of planning, preservation and development.

The meeting was "not a project announcement by any means," Webb said, and the project has a prospective office tenant "that would need his space within the next couple years."

CentrePointe construction would begin with its 700-space parking garage, Webb said.

Much of the incremental tax revenue generated from CentrePointe would be used to reimburse developers for the cost of that parking garage.

In July, Lexington's Urban County Council approved a new CentrePointe master development agreement, which included plans for a hotel; apartments; space for offices, retailers and restaurants; and a three-story underground parking garage. CentrePointe's price tag would be an estimated $393.9 million, including financing.

A site plan shows a hotel and Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse facing Vine Street, and apartments and offices facing Main Street.

The project has been controversial in Lexington since buildings on the proposed CentrePointe block were razed in 2008. A grass field now occupies the site.