LEXINGTON, Ky. — A first ever mixed-use parking, education and retail facility designed to fuel innovation and foster creativity has, since 2019, been transforming the corner of South Limestone and Winslow Street. The new structure will be home to 900 new parking spaces, University of Kentucky esports, a flexible innovation zone and approximately 10,000 s.f. of private retail space.
University officials announced that, per the results of a campuswide vote, the facility will be named “The Cornerstone,” reflecting the building’s role as a gateway to an emerging innovation district that will further link the university and city. The project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2020.
Further, officials also announced that the unique, multi-vendor dining area on the ground level will be named The Cornerstone Exchange, a place for the campus and community to exchange ideas, exercise innovation and experience local food and drinks.
The Cornerstone Exchange dining area will feature homegrown, Kentucky-based companies, and local favorites: West Sixth Brewing, A Cup of Common Wealth and Rolling Oven.
“We are very excited to announce both the name The Cornerstone, which underscores the importance of this facility as a doorway to our campus, and our relationship with these local businesses,” said UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday. “Each of these organizations has a strong connection to, and engagement with, the local community. They reflect the kind of supportive, collaborative environment we plan to create in this space.”
Monday said the vision for The Cornerstone is to leverage the open-format space and use of technology to maximize student success, enhance a sense of community and bring together the university and city. Moreover, the space will foster outcome- and solution-driven thinking and design, connect people with different passions and interests and provide new pathways for career development in entrepreneurial fields.
The space’s esports theater will include 100 retractable theater-style seats and an esports gamers lounge will offer more than 50 PC-based gaming units and multiple console-play areas; however, the flexible use of the facility will allow the community to engage in a variety of activities.
Executive Director for Strategic Analysis and Policy Melody Flowers said, “The Cornerstone Exchange communal dining area provides additional opportunity to build community and collaboration.”
“We know that some of the most meaningful relationships are built while people break bread,” Flowers said. “This facility will feature multiple components, including dining space and innovation space. We look forward to continuing our quick progress in transforming this integral, forward thinking part of campus in partnership with Signet Real Estate Group.”
After completion, Signet will maintain and operate the retail/dining space; UK will operate and maintain the innovation zone, esports center and parking structure.
“From the beginning of this partnership, Signet and UK have endeavored to create a unique retail environment for students, staff and the Lexington community,” said Signet Real Estate Group Vice President of Development Spencer Hyatt. “The Cornerstone Exchange will bring together a diverse offering of the best-in-class local operators in a collaborative atmosphere. We are truly excited to have Rolling Oven, A Cup of Common Wealth and West Sixth Brewing as our first tenants and anchors for this project.”
“We’re proud to be part of The Cornerstone project at the University of Kentucky,” said Ben Self, co-founder of West Sixth Brewing. “It’s very exciting to be an anchor of another locally focused food collaborative space. Growing up in Lexington, I’m keenly aware of the role that our flagship university plays in our city, and I’m particularly excited to deepen our partnership with UK. With the deep roots we’ve formed focusing on distributing our beer exclusively in Kentucky — especially in Lexington where we started — it made perfect sense for us to partner with the university to open our third taproom in Lexington, and fifth throughout Kentucky.”
In addition, by adding more than 900 new parking spaces, the combined number of spaces increases to roughly 2,300 between the existing garage and the new structure. This is a significant step in the right direction to achieving the university’s Transportation Master Plan and adding much needed parking capacity to campus.
The Cornerstone Exchange is leased exclusively by retail specialists Colleen Barr and Greg Leveridge with Block + Lot Real Estate. Known as a Lexington boutique, full-service real estate company, Block + Lot has built its reputation on impactful commercial real estate brokerage throughout Central Kentucky, making this exciting project a natural fit.
Please contact Colleen or Greg at (859) 309-0099 with inquiries and interest in The Cornerstone Exchange.