The tallest building in Kentucky’s capital city will soon stand empty and its future is uncertain.
Kentucky Finance Secretary William M. Landrum III, appointed last December by new Gov. Matt Bevin, said Tuesday that the 26-story Capital Plaza state office tower, which dominates the skyline of downtown Frankfort, will soon be deemed surplus property by the state.
Many of the 750 to 800 state employees in the tower are scheduled to be moved beginning in June to a new state office building on Sower Boulevard off the East-West Connector. The remaining employees in the tower will be going to new locales, leaving the concrete structure empty by December.
Landrum said Tuesday in an email that he has been asked about the state’s plans for the tower in recent legislative committee meetings.
“I have challenged the Department for Facilities and Support Services to think differently on how the commonwealth may want to proceed with disposing of the property,” he said. “At this point, all recommendations will be considered and nothing has been finalized.”
Landrum said the area where the tower is located is “important to Frankfort.”
“We are working to come up with a viable solution that will have a positive impact on the area,” he said.
Options for the property range from selling the tower to razing the tower and then selling the land.
In 2008, the state analyzed the physical condition of the tower.
Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects recommended demolishing the building and replacing it with a 270,000-square-foot, five-story building nearby.
That plan would have cost an estimated $156 million, compared to $134.7 million needed to renovate the office tower. At the time, about 1,000 employees worked in the building.
The 2010 General Assembly did not approve the project and since then no decisions have been made about the future of the office tower.
In recent years, there have been reports of concrete falling from the tower and water leaking in the building.
The 338-foot tower, which opened in 1972, has a modernist architectural style. The next tallest building in Frankfort — the Capitol — is 210 feet tall.
Some businesses in Frankfort have expressed concern about the exodus of state employees from the downtown area. Mayor William I. May Jr. could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
The new state office building on Sower Boulevard is a five-story, 371,000-square-foot structure that will house about 1,500 state employees.
State agencies moving from the tower to the new building include the Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Department of Education, and the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. It has not yet been determined where employees of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet who work in the tower will be moving.
About 11,000 people work for the executive branch of state government in Franklin County.