What do you think of CentrePointe’s design?

I’ve heard a lot of comment about CentrePointe’s design, little of it positive. The most scathing view I’ve seen comes from Anthony Eardley, a former dean of the University of Kentucky’s architecture school, who lives in an old downtown house he renovated.

CentrePointe200Eardley submitted a 2,000-word critique of CentrePointe to the Herald-Leader’s editorial page, whose editors asked him to trim it to the 700-word limit for guest columns. Rather than do that, he has been circulating it around town by email. It has been published on a local blog, Dialogic. You can read it here.

Like CentrePointe, Eardley’s critique suffers from being massive and pretentious. But it makes some excellent points about the building’s design, its unsuitability for the location and its flaunting of the downtown master plan.

Eardley considers it a “most monumental attack on our ravaged and still fragile downtown.” He urges the Urban County Council to reject CentrePointe’s design and establish an architectural review panel, such as the one Cincinnati has had since 1964, to review the design and suitability of new downtown projects.

As a longtime editor, I couldn’t resist tightening Eardley’s prose. Here’s my summary, in haiku:

The Webbs, philistines.

Their building worse than ugly.

City, just say no.

What do you think of CentrePointe? Post a comment below with your thoughts, in haiku if you like.

Comments Closed



to “What do you think of CentrePointe’s design?”

  1.   DMikulec Says:

    Webb may have money but after looking at what he’s proposing I can’t say he has taste. Save the buildings, not just their facades.

  2.   Suzi Says:

    First of all, I am not a resident of Lexington. I have many friends there, some living downtown and have spent a lot of time there. Usually 2-5 months at a time.
    I think it’s sad to tear down the remaining buildings on this block, however, just by looking at them, they need to go. I don’t believe they can be saved and are not safe.
    I think it would be good to have a new building, residential and retail there for downtown. However, it needs to be in a style within the historic guidlines and not stand out like a sore thumb. The proposed building looks way to modern and out of place.
    Is there a need for more condo’s and another hotel downtown anyway?
    The scale of this building is way too large. Taking over part of Phoenix park for parking is ridiculous. If the Webb’s want to build this large of building, the parking should be completely on site and underground. They need to scale this down to under 25 stories. I think 30 stories is too high.
    Make room for a new Dame in the basement or on street level. I have attended a concert at the Dame and it was good, even though it didn’t seem to be in good shape.
    The Webb’s just want to make money and rebuild their credibility some. They don’t need to do it all at once with one massive building. If they won’t give on the building, they should build it as they want it somewhere else and not downtown.
    Downtown should be historic.
    Suzi

  3.   massive and pretentious Says:

    as a longtime editor, you should probably also know that if you’re going to mock someone’s writing, your own should be pristine.

    “As a longtime editor, I couldn’t resist tighten[ING] up Eardley’s prose. Here’s my summary, in haiku…”

  4.   Todd Says:

    Judging by Webb’s comments, his group paid so much money for the property that nothing smaller can be built, or he won’t be able to profit. I gather that this means that if something smaller is built, the taxpayers will have to shell out more money to appease Webb’s finances. What will happen to the property if nothing is built?
    I am skeptical about such a project because there is already retail space downtown that sits empty, because lease prices are becoming astronomical, and local merchants cannot afford them.

  5.   Tom Eblen Says:

    M&P –
    Good point! I stand corrected.

  6.   Mike Says:

    I am sure that many will have different attitudes and opinions on this matter. I am all for historic preservation. Nonetheless, it does take someone that is willing to spend money to either bring these buildings up to standard or withstand the unsightliness that they are at this time. I propose those who want to save these buildings to come forward with the money and purchase them from Mr. Webb and then go from there if that is your desire. Thus, those that think historically that two story buildings can earn a profit then I say let them try when they have the millions to invest and lose at the same time.

  7.   M West Says:

    I like it. It’s always been “hip” to be against new development. Unfortunately, the people who are always against development have nothing beneficial to add to the debate other than criticism. They just enjoy the emotional high they get from saying “they’re against it” and yet they have no solutions of their own. The problem downtown has always been parking; always has been, always will be. People don’t want to park in unsafe structures they have to pay for. The only solution for the parking problem is to wipe out another whole block and put in “free” mall-like parking and have shuttles transporting people to different areas of the downtown.

  8.   M West Says:

    I like it. It’s always been “hip” to be against new development. Unfortunately, the people who are always against development have nothing beneficial to add to the debate other than criticism. They just enjoy the emotional high they get from saying “they’re against it” and yet they have no solutions of their own. The problem downtown has always been parking; always has been, always will be. People don’t want to park in unsafe structures they have to pay for. The only solution for the parking problem is to wipe out another whole block and put in “free” mall-like parking and have shuttles transporting people to different areas of the downtown.

  9.   fairnessfcps Says:

    I do not approve of Dudley Webb or any idea he has. As a Whitesburg, Kentucky native whose role in the demise of Kentucky Central was well documented, Webb has attempted to remake Lexington according to his own design. The results are insipid.

    We will soon see if Lexington finally repudiates the Webbs once and for all. Speak up for Lexington’s old buildings.

    Protect to the Joe Rosenberg block. Say no to CenterPoint. Attend the City Council meeting this Wednesday.

  10.   Blackjack Says:

    Historic building? Yes, we must save the RiteAid our forefathers built. Please.

  11.   Mari Adkins Says:

    This is worse than the whole Gene Snyder fiasco back in the late 80s. Has Lexington forgotten about that? I haven’t.

  12.   smallisbeautiful Says:

    It does look like sore thumb to me, out of character just like the new goliathlike courthouse building. The new courthouse makes me think of a new prison of litigious society, eroding freedom in the name of law and security!

    What is being done to fill up victorian square shops? Could some of the upstairs can be turned into apartments?

  13.   N. Blihgsne Says:

    I’ve lived in many different cities in the U.S., my favorite being San Antonio, TX. The problem that I’ve always had with the Lexington skyline is that it’s unspectactular. One of the hallmarks of a “destination” city is that when you see a picture of it, you immediately either want to visit it or you remember the city from the skyline. There is no interesting architecture as far as multi-story buildings in Lexington. If you don’t believe me, drive down Newtown Pike at night and pick out a distinctive building in the distance. It can’t be done. Lexington’s skyline is not “postcard pretty.” Maybe this building could be a good start.

  14.   David Says:

    I think it looks great. I just wish he would have added 5 stories instead of shortening it 5 stories to make it the tallest building in Lexington. I have been to my share of downtowns with fantastic skylines like St. Louis, Cincy, Indianapolis and their downtowns are thriving with great shops, restaurants and neat things to do. This block is ugly and blighted with broken sidewalks, overhead utility lines and Phoenix Park is now the hangout of the homeless. Their are plenty of nice old buildings around the old courthouse and in the short Street/Cheapside area. Build your building Mr. Webb and don’t back down from the naysayers.

  15.   L Says:

    I’ve gone back and forth about what I think about what is (most likely) going to happen in downtown Lexington. I do think that something needs to be done downtown; there’s just not a lot down there. I do wish that those old buildings could be saved somehow but I think the fact of the matter is that they are run down and it just needs to be renovated in some form or fashion. We NEED to be brought into the 21st century to be able to compete at half the level that Louisville or Cincinnati or Nashville or any other “big” (semi-big?) city does.

    Do I think we need a 40 story building/complex? Maybe not 40 stories, that seems awfully big for a city of this size. 20 stories could work though, it would “fit in” with the rest of the cityscape. I don’t mind the idea of a hotel/retail/condo place, but I do have the hope that maybe there would also be some kind of entertainment venue included in the plan (maybe the Dame could move there? you know, if they don’t rip people off on rent). Lexington NEEDS something more like Cincinnati’s Bogart’s for shows and things, it’d be nice to have something down there if/when this CentrePoint thing gets built.

    In the end, I do think something needs to be done to revitalize downtown Lexington, to make it a bit more “modern” in some aspects. There’s just not a lot down there right now. But if/when this thing gets built, I hope it doesn’t end up being something that becomes empty like Victorian Square.

  16.   David Says:

    I am a Lexington Resident and I do think that alot more than just this block should be Torn down, I really thought his design was neat and attractive. I think he should be able to build it if he wants to. I like the comment on adding floors. I love the tall Sky lines I saw in other cities. I do think that he could work out something with the exsiting businesses like the Dame. I like the Idea of making room in the design for them and maybe a little bit bigger so they can have more people attend.

    I think that if a few other issues are a lot more troublesome to me than this building. Like high prices for parking downtown. I think it is rediculous that you have to pay to park to spend money. Why should I have to do this. I know it makes money but I still think it is dumb. Also Traffic Flow Sucks way to many one way streets and it gets confusing, especially to any visiting people.

    During good weather I always park a mile or two away and walk into downtown if I have to go.

    In closing I think that this project as well as others should be built. I say lets implode the whole block on July 4th Just like the hotel was done a few years ago I think it was in Las Vegas

  17.   Kathryn Says:

    I finally had it with downtown in 2006 and bought an office in Hamburg. Parking downtown is a ripoff. I paid $55 per month and had an office in the “Big Blue” building. I moved to Short Street in 2004 and parking is nuts. My clients who normally come in and stay slightly over an hour all received parking tickets and complained. I still have dozens of unpaid tickets myself. So after 18 months in Hamburg we are still giddy about the move.

    If I were the Webbs I would say screw downtown and move the structure out Winchester Road or Richmond Road. It would still attract the clients it is designed for and leave that rat infested, asbestos contaminated block to the 400 drunks that seem to like it.

    Within 20 years that block will collapse on its own if left as is. I say let it go.

    The Webbs have kept what little remains downtown now. Festival Market opened at a difficult time for downtown but all the buildings are full now. Without The Financial Center, all the law firms and 5th3rd Bank would be where? The Webbs started the downtown condo revolution with the construction of The Woodlands in the mid 1980′s and helped clean up that entire area from a cesspool to thriving businesses.

    The CentrePoint design is marvelous. I would add 10 floors to it rather than take 10 off, and if the downtown wino voices prevail, if I were Dudley Webb I would put my left arm in a cast, drive around town with my window rolled down and my left index finger in the air.

  18.   JJ Says:

    Please build it! For years, I have heard these different groups crying about Lexington, how much they love it, and how much they want it to prosper. But when someone tries to take the next step forward, they cry out and try to stop it from happening. The big whine a few years ago was that downtown needed to be redeveloped because of unusable, ugly, blights on society and stop taking farmland to make new stuff. The Webb Brothers now want to act on this by taking a downright ugly block of town and redevelop it into something really attractive that not only will add to Lexington’s skyline, but could single-handedly revitalize downtown in ways that I’ve heard people scream for since the 1970′s. And now another group wants to cry and try to stop it too. Let’s face it, there are just some people who would rather Lexington stay exactly how it is and never progress into the 21st Century…no matter the cost to the residents of the city, tourism, downtown living, etc. I say the Council and the Webbs should see through this bunch of bull and ignore their cries and do something nice with the property THEY OWN. Remember that, whiners. If you had spent a million dollars on a small piece of property, you wouldn’t want all your neighbors telling you what to put on it/not put on it. The Webbs OWN this property, so if they want to build a 100 story building, so be it. But they don’t, what they are asking isn’t out of line with existing skyscrapers in Lexington. Get over yourselves and let progress come in.

  19.   Jim Says:

    Anyone who looks at the Centerpointe design and drives out and looks at what is sitting there now and says we should keep what we have is not being honest.
    Pros: Looks better, provides its own parking, attracts and inspires co-tenancy, provides employment (construction, operation), …
    Cons: You’ve heard them already.

  20.   Vernon Goins Says:

    I live in Atlanta where skyscrapers are almost as numerous as the tall southern pine trees that abound here. The CentrePointe design reminds me of the King and Queen landmark towers on the Perimeter. I wish the tower had been designed with a blue theme, like the King and Queen. As Lexington grows, all blue towers would create a postcard that would identify the Capital of the Bluegrass with just a glance! Come on, Mr. Webb, build a blue King to go with the Queen.

  21.   Jim Says:

    Vernon,

    That is a cool idea

  22.   Broc Says:

    At first, I thought this massive endeavor was groundbreaking…a total new ‘high’ for Lexington in all sense of the word. However, after further investigation and hearing what others have mentioned, it doesn’t make sense to throw some huge structure in downtown Lexington just because you can. First off, quit looking at Louisville. It seems that every time our ‘rival’ across the bluegrass does something new and exciting, we have to do it, too. The World Equestrian Games seems to be the catalyst in the recent surge to build. We need to focus on the long run…decades following the Games. I think that by monopolizing a huge region of downtown for this behemoth of a building isn’t conducive to developing the downtown master plan of Lexington. Would it not be more advantageous to build a series of smaller buildings and mixed development projects to build upon the pedestrian? Lexington should find its own voice and rhthym and quit looking at what our neighbors are doing. So what if Louisville has a 60+ Museum Tower going up. We need to create our own unique city and quit trying to copy what’s going on elsewhere. I encourage everyone to at very least push for further development exploration of this key area of downtown. Otherwise, we run the chance of losing who we are and what we ultimately want to become…

  23.   amy Says:

    To all of you who have left CentrePoint supportive comments:

    It is obvious that the majority of you have no experience in design or planning. If you did, you would understand the importance of keeping a city and it’s original spirit intact. Lexington is not as big of a city as St. Louis, Chicago, or even Louisville. Lexington is uniquely Lexington. We are our own town and preserving it and what buildings we have left of it are all we have to link us to our heritage as a city. It’s really hard to read such uninformed opinions about the progress of our city. A reader above commented that we have broken sidewalks and homeless hanging out in our parks. Instead of building a giant unsustainable building such as CentrePointe, why not take care of these problems before building a new one? The Block does, believe it or not, have massive potential to bring in a lot of culture, vitality and money to downtown Lexington. All of this without spending our hard earned tax dollars on an unappealing, unapproachable, out of scale building? I guess I really just don’t understand the nature of quick fixes… CentrePointe is a prime example of a quick fix to much bigger problem.

    Uninformed citizens should consider studying into things before giving their opinions. If you like the proposal, come to a town meeting or a planning meeting. Please come and listen to the very educated and legitimate reasons why this project, along with others, should not go forth for the better good of our city. After hearing the real alternatives, maybe then you can make your opinion heard.

    The reason things don’t progress in Lexington is not because of “naysayers”. It is because of uninformed backing and “yaysayers” that would rather do than think. Then, the mess is left for the “naysayers” to clean up.

  24.   Michael Says:

    It is great that there is so much passion about his project. Too bad it is all mis guided. Those against it site the historical signifiance of the buildings, 10 which are eligable to be placed on the natinal registart. Notice the term eligable. Not until the buildings are set to be brought down, does any care about their historical signifance. Out of the 400 or so at the meeting has anyone of them ever spent a penny or any time trying to maintain, upgrade or occupy those buildings? I doubt it. They are ready to slay the giant, but not feed meek that are supposedly threatned by it. Where were all these people when historic Hamburg Farm was being dug up and all those beautiful box stores were being built? Maybe Mr. Webb should build his skyscraper on a horse farm, it probably has a better chance of getting accomplished there. Correct me if I am wrong, these buildings are privately owned. When did it become OK for the public to tell a private owner what he or she can do with their property. Bottom line, too many people in this town are scared to look up, they would rather keep their heads pointed to the past. Nothing wrong with the past, but if you are so up in arms about preservation, you should have bought the buildings and made something useful out of them.

  25.   amy Says:

    Michael…

    For the better good of the city… dont say such ignorant things. Remember our previous mayor and council the proponents for urban sprawl? WE ARENT SPRAWLING ANYMORE.

    Privately owned properties still have codes and guidelines that have to be followed. If they didnt, anyone could have 40 story monstrosities on their lots… in fact, id say most would property owners would compete in a who has a bigger “thumb” contest of buildings…

    anywho… these buildings couldnt be bought before, the owner didnt want to sell.

    and why is it up to a certain crowd of people all of the sudden to turn these buildings into “something useful” ? i thought the whole idea of a city master plan was to plan a city together to make it into something ALL its citizens are proud of…

  26.   Jim Says:

    Amy,

    Your elitist attitude is refreshing. Keep in mind that the old buildings and downtown in general was “designed” and built by people with no modern experience in design and planning and without the restrictions of design reviews, minimum landscape/parking code issues, etc. Just people with their own money building what suited their needs.
    It’s called free market capitalism and it always works.

  27.   Anya Says:

    I am not opposed to the renovation of the existing block, nor am I opposed to placing a sensible new structure on the block. However, the current design is atrocious. Anyone who looks at the architect’s rendering and does not see a truly phallic monstrosity that is incredibly out-of-character with the rest of downtown must not be looking at the same drawings I am.

    I think that Jim Gray’s idea of a design competition for the block is potentially a brilliant compromise that should be explored.

    Besides, it might be nice to fill the myriad other brand new condos and retail spaces downtown before adding another thirty-plus stories of empty rooms with “For Lease” signs screaming from the windows.

  28.   Allison Says:

    Only a week before the design for this building was announced, the Herald Leader decried the hotel going up at the Horse Park as “ludicrous”. If the rooms at the Horse Park hotel are too expensive and aren’t needed in this market, then how is this place any different? Other than that, I think that block is an eyesore and should be razed, but the design for CentrePointed is ridiculously overdone.

  29.   C Says:

    The same folks with bumper stickers urging us to “Save the Bluegrass” are the ones protesting this project. They cheered when the Planning Commission approved the updated Comprehensive Plan that did not include expansion of the Urban Servce Area, but now protest the very type of development that is required as a result of that monumental decision. Choosing not to expand our city outward means having to accept significantly higher density within our existing boundaries. The project may not be perfect, but people cannot have it both ways.

    Tom,

    “Here’s the way development usually happens in Lexington: A developer comes up with a plan and announces a done deal. Citizens like it or lump it.”

    Do you want to talk about all the things that are built in this city because that is the way the public wants them that result in poor development? Lets discuss cul-de-sacs, unconnected collector streets like Saron Dr. and numerous others. Citizens don’t want to hear it, but many traffic congestion issues are a direct result of their own attachment to surbuban ideals. Neighborhoods have tremendous authority in the development process. Any attempt to say otherwise is simply misinformed. A statement like that makes it appear as if you have never attended a Planning Commission meeting.

  30.   John Says:

    Build multiple floors of parking in the substructure of the new building. Increase public transit options. Make it Blue. Build a new music venue that actually brings some quality to Lexington instead of a genre jumping assortment. Make the Cheapside area the center for bar life.
    Problems solved.

  31.   B Says:

    I am not against development on the Dame block, but I am against wiping the slate clean of hundreds of years of history. And despite what you may think about the appearance/use of the historic structures, they are historic and important to Lexington’s past, present, and future. The fledgling music and entertainment district nested in that block is the kind of cities dream of attracting and fostering. It may not look like much from the outside, but neither did Beale Street, Greenwich Village, Music Row, and Austin’s music scene when they first took hold and began to form their own individual sounds.

    I think a terrific building can be built as infill on the block, incorporating the existing older structures…I just don’t think it’s this one. I support Jim Gray’s proposal of a design competition to find a much better fit for our city. We are not Louisville or Chicago or Atlanta or Raleigh and we don’t need to try to be somewhere we are not. We need to celebrate our unique identity as Lexington.

    I appreciate Mr. Webb’s efforts to do something with the surface parking in the middle, I just think we can do BETTER…especially if we are asking citizens to foot a big chunk of a big bill. I love Lexington and I want it to be the best city it can be without losing its identity. Let’s incorporate the ideas and passions and values and history of our unique place into its heart.

  32.   TB Says:

    Downtown is a dump and and just because a building is old doesn’t mean it’s historic. Cultural elitists seek to preserve their quaint and genteel notions of history and preservation while ignoring the fact that American thrives on change and sweeping away the old to make way for the new. That’s our nature and has worked well for us.

    This brouhaha reminds me of the bourgeois preservationists in Chicago who sought to preserve the old mansions of the wealthy but didn’t lift one finger to preserve the building where the St. Valentines Massacre happened—the scene of the most famous event in Chicago history.

  33.   Chris from the sticks Says:

    Part of considering the pros/cons of any development project should involve consideration of what has and has not worked in other places. I submit two examples: one of an unsuccessful high-rise city and one of a successful low-rise city. The first is Detroit, which has a self-contained collection of skyscrapers known as the Renaissance Center. They are iconic, right on the waterfront… and they did NOTHING to help revitalize that city because they offered very little in the way of services/retail open to the pedestrian public. The example of a successful, thriving low-rise downtown is Savannah, GA, a city about the same size as Lexington. Blocks upon blocks of historic architecture, mixed with much more modern main streets of retail and restaurants that face the street. Only two or three buildings over 12 stories in the downtown, and yet residents and tourists alike flock downtown. There are parking garages, of course, but these are in the 4 story range, and are interspersed throughout, not concentrated in one or two blocks.

    The point here is not preservation or property rights. The point is that both the city and the developer should consider what the city needs, not simply what will generate the most money for one party. Will an arcade of shops (basically a mall that happens to be located downtown) serve the needs of the city (making the city more attractive and spurring growth), or will those needs be better served by street-facing shops, with parallel parking spaces and yes, the occasional garage (with free parking on weekends)? Should we be more concerned with enhancing the skyline (something this project will certainly do) or with getting people to come downtown, get out of their cars, walk around and enjoy our city (centrepointe’s merits are questionable here)?

    I would argue that Lexington’s postcard appeal is already assured; just because it is a low-rise city does not make it any more or less attractive than any other place in the world. What CAN make the downtown more attractive,both to residents and visitors, is the availability of retail, entertainment, and services in a concentrated area to complement the offices, hotels, and residences that already exist. While a skyscraper COULD accomplish this for us, it’s not necessary because at street level, your eyes are engaged with shops, restaurants, maybe balconies on the second and third floors of buildings, and yes, other pedestrians. You’re looking into windows, hearing music spill out of clubs, smelling dinner cooking in restaurants, and you’re people watching, thinking “man there is a lot going on in this town.” I hope the city AND the developer considers all of these things.

  34.   lolliloo Says:

    Wow!Controversy
    Centray Pointay You are Yuck
    Hope you go Away

  35.   Blackjack Says:

    Amy,
    life must be so miserable for you. Dealing with the undeducated philistine rabble must be so exhausting. Get over yourself.

    Save the historic RiteAid!!!

  36.   Jodi Says:

    looks like a giant phalyx!
    you can say I am on the seventh floor of downtown’s giant pen*s!

    come to think of it, Mr. Webb did so well with the inception of Festival Market and it was so well crafted! HAHAHAHA
    if you build it, this will be a huge catastrophe on so many levels! All Webb has to do is file bancruptcy AGAIN and we will be stuck with the World’s ugliest building!

  37.   Jodi Says:

    Oh, yeah, the “modern” architects have done so marvelously with thier innovative designs that the new Courthouses have continuous mechanical and design flaws (i.e. heating/airconditioning, leaky roofs and windows! What stellar architectural designs!) These buildings that are being replaced have lasted numerous years with very little assistance/renovation, they hopefully can outlast the idiotic City un-planners that simply throw buildings up without crafting a blueprint of what will cohesively blend with our City Aesthetics. Also, the larger cities mentioned above ALSO incorporate historical architecture with the new! I.e, L.A, Cinci, NY, e.t.c.!

  38.   jeff g. Says:

    I think everyone should mind their own business.
    Let them build!!!!
    I don’t even live in Lexington,but,I feel if i wanted to sell
    to a deveoper,then it is MY OWN BUSINESS.
    That’s a big problem with society,too many nosy bodies!
    MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS,AND I’LL MILD MINE.

  39.   Debbie Says:

    Mind your own business is a unique philosophy. I believe that’s the way to make things run smoothly. HA HA!

    You have to admit that it is an ugly building.

  40.   Diane Lawless Says:

    I think the design as submitted does not meet the criteria for a successful downtown development. We need activity that will draw Lexington residents downtown as well as visitors. We need to match the fabric and brand of our community and learn from successes in other communities. People on the streets, entertainment and art make a successful downtown.
    I hope this will slow down and get more community involvement. We need to make our history as well as our future our most important consideration, not how fast it can get done. Lexington cannot afford any more mistakes. We will be looking at this building for decades. Let’s do it right!

  41.   Paula Says:

    The building is much too large. It looks like a giant penis, and it does not fit Lexington in size or spirit. Please do not do this to our city.

  42.   Matt Says:

    Downtown Lexington needs higher density development. This project would tear down a few non-significant historic structures, and would greatly improve the density of downtown. I think they sould be allowed to build as many stories as they want! The focus of the community and the possible design competition should be on the ground level architecture and amenities that are provided to the downtown. As far as the skyline and architecture of the building go…some will love it, some will hate it, but Lexington needs density to become a truly great urban environment (and hopefully this will not be the last change to Lexington’s skyline).

  43.   sbdjx Says:

    I really hope CP is built, with no additional changes to the current design. I think the building looks great. I thought, for example, the trees on the various portions of the roof would satisfy many of you people that complain about any and everything in this town. You people complaining about the design would not be satisfied with anything of significant size. Just because most buildings currently downtown aren’t this tall doesn’t mean a building of this size shouldn’t be built. It’s not like this would be the tallest building in Lexington, either. Quit living in the good ole days and tear these dumps down. There are plenty of other old empty rat invested buildings you can save. Go down grab you a few bricks for your mantle and be on your way. The current business (The Dame and Mia’s), based on LHL articles, seem to be excited about their moves. Build it!

  44.   David Says:

    I love the design of this building, I just wish he would make it taller………..maybe some great restaurants will be in the lower area………….how about a Ruth Chris Steak house, a man can eat only so many Subways and Sams Hot Dogs…………….Build it Mr. Webb…….don’t back down………..

  45.   daniel Says:

    If it was choice between this building and looking at that block as it currently exists, I am going to choose this building.

  46.   K-Rock Says:

    i think some misconceptions need to be addressed. first of all, mr. webb- nor any of the webbs- have EVER declared bankrupcy. really, i doubt is is their style. next, i would like to address those who of you who point to other shabby downtown buildings originally destined for the scrap heap but then refurbished into functional buildings and businesses. seemingly this is a good argument but you need to be reminded that they do not have a 40-story high rise sitting on top of them. neither have they withstood dynamite to clear out for 3 stories of underground parking. of course, centrepointe does not have to have underground parking but i think it was a generous consideration of the webbs so that the rest of us do not have to look at it. finally, phoenix park is a joke. in its current condition, it is nothing more than a concrete park with small fountains for the homeless to use as urinals. it was never supposed to stay like it is. the webbs have generously offered to re-do this park and make it wonderful- a place where families could picnic and watch movies on the jumbotron in the summertime. it would also be a wonderful place to hold ceremonies during the world games.

    without question, lexington needs a new landmark building- one that our children will want to preserve and protect as historic 100 years from now. adding to the skyline and downtown density is a no brainer. we could argue about the specific design of the building for years and some would still be unhappy. and why shouldn’t the building be 40 stories and make money? who would want to invest in downtown and not make money? ultimately, this is capitalistic society. the webbs and partners own the land and as long as the building meets design criteria (which their architect proved last wednesday) they should be able to go ahead as planned. the whole idea of an unsactioned design competition in the private sector is laughable and ludicrous. its THEIR money and time and effort and they seem to be the only ones who put their money where their mouth is. i would love to see the preservationits or jim gray offer to buy the property and make what is there work. of course, that will never happen. and if centerpointe does not happen, what investor would EVER want to put their neck out for these ungrateful lexingtonians in the future. downtown lexington will WITHER AWAY.

  47.   Nathan Says:

    First, I like the simple vision that John put forth, and does a lot in a few sentences to address the main problems with downtown.

    I think a lot of people are opposed to this project not because of the buildings that will be lost as much as the idea that what will replace them misses the mark and could be much better. So, saving the existing buildings becomes a vehicle to demand something better. One way to make the project better might be to incorporate the old buildings. This could also end up with an insensitive infill project that is equally detested. Also, a complete razing of the lot, or a compromise in which a few existing buildings are preserved, could be well executed enough that even preservationists would be pleased. The issue is that this design doesn’t meet these goals. It isn’t that its “hideous” just as it isn’t “wonderful” its that it has a lot of room to be improved. This important city block deserves better than this generic project.

    PRO:
    1. Adds ooomph to the skyline, although its a pretty generic oomph.
    2. Will potentially stimulate economy, provide jobs, increase density, etc.
    3. Places parking underground.
    4. Brings a 5 star hotel to downtown.

    CON:
    1. While the design makes a nod toward the context and pedestrian’s vantage point with the 4-story perimeter, it also disrupts the flow of pedestrian movement with its drive-thru’s. These are a big no-no for pedestrian-friendly design (as anyone can experience for themselves by walking in front of the county clerk building). You can have all the shops and storefronts you want, but when you interrupt the sidewalk mid-block with a driveway, it isn’t pleasant to walk along, and people won’t. Read some Donovan Rypkema for more on this.
    2. The building still reads as a single monolithic block despite the varied massing, and this is because it does not honor the pattern of growth for downtown Lexington, namely the varied building heights and narrow lot arrangement of historic buildings. This is why some people find even the low portion of the block to be “generic”, because it doesn’t differentiate itself the way traditional Main Street blocks do.
    3. Destroying existing buildings, no matter their historic significance or lack there-of, is wasteful and unnecessary to turn a profit, and is not good for the environment, LEED certification be damned.
    4. In short, the fact that even the things the project does well, could be done far better, is a negative in itself.

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks to those that read it.

  48.   Kristin Says:

    I really don’t understand the emotional opposition to this building. I get it that any major project anywhere brings out the usual cast of characters who feel energized and important by such battles in a David vs Goliath sort of way. But this project seems truly different — particularly in Lexington. It is time for those of us who call ourselves environmentalists to champion real change and not simply and categorically oppose it. Has anyone noticed this tired approach hasn’t achieved much? As a general rule, I am personally in favor of building UP, rather than OUT. Hasn’t that been the major design flaw and complaint in Lex for years? Have we already forgotten about the horse farms being gobbled up and Lex’s traffic problems that are more typical of a much larger city? We can quibble about the building’s details — the design etc — but projects that attempt to reenergize downtown by creating vibrant living and working space deserve to be supported by people who care deeply about the environment. And I would rather “preserve” green space and currently undeveloped land any day over a few sad (dilapidated) old buildings that no one could identify a few weeks ago. Be honest: when you think of Lex, do you think of horse farms or the Dame? Farms are by far the more important component to our city’s cultural profile and our long-term ability to sustain tourism, local food providers, not to mention citizen health and well-being. I think it’s critical for we environmentalists to prioritize our goals and worry more about new development than saving the concrete parks of the world. (Did anyone notice I didn’t even mention LEED certification?? I consider that a mere bonus detail).