A Top Golf was one of four proposals received by the Lexington Center Corporation to redevelop the approximately 17-acre High Street car park opposite the Central Bank Center, records obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader show.
The Lexington Center Corp., which oversees the Central Bank Center and the Lexington Opera House, ultimately selected a proposal from The Webb Companies, based in Lexington, and Lincoln Property Company, based in Dallas, to redevelop the land in May.
Lincoln Webb LLC’s proposal includes a mix of residences, retail and restaurants and multiple parking lots.
The two groups are still in negotiations over final development details and how much the group will pay Lexington Center Corp. in ground lease payments, according to documents.
But the center has also received proposals from officials at Top Golf, a subsidiary of Callaway Golf Company, and other investors to set up a 32,000-square-foot, two-story, 52-bay outdoor driving range, restaurant, golf course miniature golf course and bar on site. , the documents show.
Top Golf has been controversial in other cities, including Louisville where some residents close to Top Golf’s proposed site at Oxmoor Center fought the development in court for several years and ultimately lost. The Top Golf in St. Matthews should open later this year, according to WDRB.
Top Golf teamed up with local developer Patrick Madden, who developed Hamburg’s shopping area, on the proposal, according to documents the newspaper received via an Open Records Act request. Madden was a member of the Lexington Center board of directors and resigned before submitting the Top Golf proposal, Lexington Center officials said.
Bill Owen, Lexington Center’s construction manager, said a Lexington Center committee ultimately decided Top Golf’s proposal wouldn’t work for the site. Owen helped oversee the selection process.
“Top Golf has been very popular in other markets,” Owen said. “But time and again the committee has expressed concern about its location in a downtown environment. Other points of consideration were: What is the highest and best use of this land? “.
The documents show the other proposals for the High Street car park included:
- A proposal by Grand Slam Development to add a minor league baseball stadium downtown, several mixed-use buildings, including student housing. A similar development was first proposed in 2017, when Lexington Center Corp. had previously solicited proposals for the property, but ultimately decided not to go ahead with redevelopment of the High Street lot until after the Central Bank’s nearly $300 million renovation and expansion Center are completed.
- A proposal from iVisionary Capital Partners to add a hotel, apartment complex, multiple car parks and football stadium for Lexington Sporting Club, Lexington’s professional football club.
Grand Slam development was the first proposal the committee rejected.
According to a Feb. 18 letter from Lexington Center to Grand Slam Development, Lexington Center Corp: “has not selected Grand Slam Development’s proposal to move forward in the process for further consideration.”
Owen said the developers did not provide enough information to the committee, including financials. This is why the committee ultimately chose not to go ahead with the Grand Slam development, he said.
Lexington Sporting Club and iVisionary released their proposal in January. They were the only group to do so. Under the state’s Open Records Act, proposals did not have to be disclosed before the bid was awarded for the project.
But the project changed drastically in April, according to the records.
In a letter dated April 15, iVisionary told the board that Lexington Sporting Club had to move forward with a different location for a potential stadium due to time constraints. However, iVisionary submitted an alternative proposal that included parking garages, a 160-room hotel, 100,000 square feet of retail or office space, and a 350-unit apartment complex.
Lexington Sporting Club is now moving forward with a proposal to build a new football stadium and youth sports complex off Newtown Pike and Highways 64 and 75. The club is expected to begin play in 2023 Club officials have said he will likely play at a temporary location before the stadium is built.
Why Lincoln Webb was chosen
Owen said the board ultimately decided that Lincoln Webb’s preliminary proposal including a hotel, apartment complex, retail space and possible restaurant and entertainment venue was the best option.
Dudley Webb of The Webb Companies said in May that the group was still working with Lexington Center to develop a final plan. The current proposal includes 3,600 parking spaces. That’s 1,600 more spaces than the current 2,000 spaces on the High Street lot.
Owen said preliminary plans called for five different parking lots. This will help Central Bank Center and Town Branch Park, a proposed private park between Central Bank Center and Oliver Lewis Way, manage parking during construction of the development, which will take several years. Town Branch Park will have an entrance next to the High Street and will need parking in that area, Owen said.
A master plan for the area’s town center indicated that the High Street redevelopment project should “bring the Rupp Arena and convention center into the urban environment”, Owen said.
The Lincoln Webb plan – with its residential and commercial components – did just that, he said.
Since its inception in 1965, Dallas-based Lincoln Property Company has developed more than 150 million square feet of commercial real estate and manages more than 400 million square feet of retail space.
Owen said the committee believed the Lincoln Webb Group had the financial backing and experience to make the project a reality, he said.
According to documents, Central Bank Center generates just over $1.6 million in revenue a year from the High Street car park. The lease agreement between Central Bank Center and Lincoln Webb will likely include guarantee payments that recover those parking fees and additional revenue as part of the final agreement.
Developers can recoup infrastructure costs, including parking garages, through new tax revenue generated by the project. The 17 acre parcel is part of a tax increment funding district or TIF project.
The Lexington Center TIF project has benefited from $41 million in state tax refunds over 30 years. To start receiving state taxes, developers must spend over $200 million. The only infrastructure costs eligible to recoup those taxes are parking garages, according to the agreement approved by state economic development officials in 2019.
Owen said Lincoln Webb’s proposal is a project worth more than $350 million. This means that he will probably be able to recover the TIF money to build these garages.
Additionally, Lincoln Webb’s proposal had the support of the Woodward Heights neighborhood, Owen said. Woodward Heights is adjacent to the High Street car park.
“I’ve only heard positive things from Woodward Heights,” Owen said.
Lincoln Webb’s proposal also includes reopening streets between High and Maxwell streets, which will improve traffic congestion and circulation in the area, Owen said.
Lincoln Webb is still working on a final development plan. Owen said they hope to have a development plan finalized by the July meeting of the Lexington Center Corporation.