Fayette County

More apartments coming to lot near UK campus. What about the parking?

Parking lot on Jersey St. looking towards the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, Ky., Friday, June 16, 2017.
Parking lot on Jersey St. looking towards the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, Ky., Friday, June 16, 2017. cbertram@herald-leader.com

A multistory student apartment building near the University of Kentucky received approval Thursday from a Lexington planning group.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Planning Commission approved the development plan for Core Spaces’ apartment complex on Upper and Jersey streets during a Thursday meeting. The commission postponed making a decision on the Core Spaces development plan at its September meeting because of questions about parking for the complex. The maximum height of the building is six stories. It is four stories on the side closest to Pine Street.

Core Spaces still must get approval from the Board of Adjustment for a parking variance. The development has 166 parking spaces. 210 parking spaces are required. The ground floor will have retail space.

The design for the building, called the Hub, has changed multiple times. Those changes — including lowering the height of the building on Pine Street — were made after hearing from neighbors, Core Spaces officials said during Thursday’s commission meeting.

The building will have 159 apartments with 473 bedrooms. That’s a slight decrease from what was proposed in September, said Richard Murphy, a lawyer who represents Core Spaces.

In addition to the 166 parking spaces it will have another 12 multi-use parking spaces.

“What’s significant is that they reduced the number of units and have added 18 parking spaces to this plan to address the parking issue,” Murphy said.

Nathan Billings, a lawyer who represents the Historic South Hill and other nearby neighborhoods, asked the commission to require Core Spaces to provide the 210 parking spaces. Billings said the neighborhood would agree to a five-story building on all sides if the building had all 210 spaces.

“For every single project that has been approved around UK, none of them has sought a variance for parking,” Billings said. “Many have met or exceeded the parking requirements.”

Neighbors also told the commission they have invested millions in the historic homes in that area. They say they weren’t asking the commission to turn down Core Spaces application. They just want the parking issue to be addressed, they said Thursday.

Joy Moore, who lives in the neighborhood, said she embraced change “and we embrace the development but just not as proposed.”

“We ought to put student housing next to campus where people can walk or ride their bicycles,” Murphy said.

The commission ultimately voted 8 to 1 to approve the development plan. Carolyn Plumlee was the only planning commission member to vote against the development plan.

This is the second Core Spaces apartment building to be approved by the commission in the last two months. In September, the commission unanimously approved a zone change from neighborhood residential to neighborhood business for 1.8 acres of property located at the northwest corner of Limestone Street and Virginia Avenue for another complex, called the Hub II. That complex will have 190 apartments with 574 beds and more than 11,800 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. That zone change must still be approved by the Lexington council.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall