LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky announced Friday steps to re-imagine a critical piece of property to establish an innovation corridor and significantly expand parking for the campus.
UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday told members of the Board of Trustees that demolition would begin in March on the property that formerly housed Kennedy’s Bookstore and Fazoli’s (the corner of South Limestone and Winslow Street along Winslow to the South Upper intersection).
“We have a vision to transform this critical entrance to our campus and transform it into a hub for innovation as well as further serving the needs of our students, faculty and staff,” Monday said. “There is a tremendous opportunity here to leverage the momentum we have as a university to expand what we are doing in partnership with the community, make progress on the university’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP), and serve our campus while looking toward the future of technology, innovation, education and research.”
The vision and next steps for the corridor that Monday outlined for board members Friday includes:
- Beginning demolition on the site in March.
- Moving forward with a pre-development agreement the university has with Signet Real Estate Group, a company with offices in Florida and Ohio that specializes in higher education, health care, and public-private partnership development projects.
- Completing design of the property with the goal of completing construction and opening the new six-story facility, matching the height of the current Limestone parking garage, in August 2020.
- Finalizing programming of the space, including more than 900 new parking spaces above, ground floor university innovation space and private retail that enhances places for students, employees and the community. The ground floor mix, which will be determined in the coming months, could include 15,000-25,000 square feet for:
- retail space, which could include a restaurant and bar;
- office and support space for UK faculty and staff; and
- innovation space that could house an app development technology partnership and/or an e-sports initiative and program for students.
- And, utilizing a multi-story external media wall that will be an addition to the university’s smart campus digital signage efforts, allowing UK to provide timely information and updates to the campus community.
UK Transportation Services has made progress implementing the TMP in recent years, including award-winning investments in alternative transportation such as buses, bikes, pedestrian improvements and innovative financial incentives, as well as the construction of well over 2,000 new parking spaces since 2015. The addition of more than 900 parking spaces through this project will further improve mobility to, from and around campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
The innovation space, Monday said, is essential as it aligns with further development of the area, including the Reynolds Building for the College of Design and existing space nearby for the College of Fine Arts.
Collectively, Monday said, the corridor could “help anchor our role at the intersection of cutting-edge technology developments as well as how we are partnering with the city to invest in the adaptive re-use and re-imagining of historic properties.
“Our students and faculty are working at the intersection of disciplines. The space they work and learn in should support and enhance those efforts. At the same time, making the campus more accessible with additional parking and food options, potentially, further enhances our community.”
Jason Perry, president of Signet Real Estate Group, said, “We are excited to partner with the University of Kentucky to deliver this forward-thinking project and achieve its vision for this corridor into campus. This facility will address the university’s parking demands while transforming the edge of campus into an innovative destination for students, faculty and the Lexington community as a whole.”