Fayette County

High-rise Thistle Station development is dead; Newtown Pike site for sale

The proposed Thistle Station development that was to be built at the corner of Newtown Pike and West Third Street is dead, the developers said Tuesday.
The proposed Thistle Station development that was to be built at the corner of Newtown Pike and West Third Street is dead, the developers said Tuesday. Illustration provided

A 16-story mixed-used apartment complex on Newtown Pike that received both Lexington planning and council approval has been scuttled, developers of the project said Tuesday.

John Cirigliano, one of the developers of the $34 million Thistle Station, said the four-acre site that sits along Newtown between Third and Fourth streets will be listed for sale or lease as early as Wednesday.

Cirigliano said several factors, including financing and the state’s decision not to approve incentives for the project, led to its downfall.

“It was a combination of cost, financing, rents and lack of incentives,” he said. “It was not one thing but four things.”

The proposed development called for 200 apartments in the 16-story building, with retail space on the bottom floor. Also part of the project was a two-story, 8,000-square-foot building at the back of the property, facing Fourth Street, for more retail space or restaurants. The Urban County Council approved tax increment financing, or TIF, for the project in 2016. Tax increment financing uses taxes generated from a project to pay for roads, street lights and sewer lines. Thistle Station’s proposal was to use more than $2.5 million in taxes generated over 20 years to pay for infrastructure.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, which oversees incentives for the state, failed to approve the TIF, Cirigliano said. Without that incentive, it was hard to make the numbers work.

“Our costs were higher than expected,” he said. “When the cost increases, the financing becomes harder.”

Cirigliano said the property has been cleared of the former buildings and other debris that littered the former industrial site. Residents in the Georgetown Street and Fourth Street area had supported the project. It received unanimous planning commission and council approval.

“The community was so supportive of us. We wanted to be supportive of them and take that eyesore away,” Cirigiliano said.

According to Fayette County property records, Thistle Holdings LLC bought the 330 Newton Pike site for a little more than $875,000 in 2014. Cirigliano said the land will be available for sale or for a ground lease, but he declined to say how much Thistle Holdings would ask for the property.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall

  Comments