Home » Coldstream land swap with the city, new projects add to local economy

Coldstream land swap with the city, new projects add to local economy

‘Good things going on in many sectors’

By Lorie Hailey

Leaders of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government are developing a master plan to prepare a 200-acre site in the UK Coldstream Research Campus for future development.

(CENTRAL KY. MARKET REVIEW) — A new residential village and high-tech laboratory space at the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus in North Lexington are just the first in a series of developments designed to create a live-work-play-learn environment that is highly desired by today’s high-tech workforce.

The campus is currently home to over 50 organizations in various sectors—biotech, pharmaceutical, equine health and others—and regional headquarters for companies like Tempur Sealy, A&W Restaurants, Piramal Pharma and more. But Coldstream officials have an even bigger vision for the 735-acre park.

“The goal at many research parks nationwide is to create a dynamic live-work-play-innovate environment, and this residential development helps us accomplish this at Coldstream,” said George Ward, Coldstream’s executive director. “I like to use the term ‘social infrastructure’ to describe the amenities necessary to attract young professionals and an innovative workforce. This development will activate Coldstream 24/7 and make it an even more attractive location for high-tech organizations.”

Office, laboratory, residential and hospitality developments are planned at Coldstream, all designed to create a community within the community, where employees at Coldstream facilities can mingle and potentially collaborate.

The campus has been established as a mixed-use tax increment financing (TIF) district, which will give UK the opportunity to recover state and local taxes that are produced in the area, said Ward. The development plan calls for $33 million in infrastructure needs, including roads, sidewalks, expansion of utility lines, and shared public areas, including meeting spaces, pedestrian trails and parks, some of which can be financed with incremental tax proceeds.

UK also worked with city officials to redefine its zoning to allow for larger buildings and pedestrian-friendly developments.

Representatives from the University of Kentucky, the Woodbury Corp. and state and local officials break ground on a new $15 million facility on the Coldstream Research Campus that will become a home for early-stage, high-tech companies. UK Photo

FIFTEEN51 Apartments, a new residential village, is expected to start welcoming residents in the spring of 2022. Construction of the 260-unit, multifamily complex is expected to be fully complete by late 2022.

“FIFTEEN51 will create a new, workforce-friendly environment in the Lexington community. We remain focused on creating environments like this to support the research enterprise, economic opportunities and our community,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The Coldstream Research Campus is a product of that effort. It’s another way we earn our way forward, partner for success and ultimately serve as the university for Kentucky.”

Indianapolis-based Cityscape Residential will serve as the facility’s ground lessee, constructing and operating the 13-acre complex.
Ward said the complex will offer employees at the 50-plus high-tech companies already at Coldstream—and future companies—the ability to live, work, play and innovate all within the area.

“Access to talent is the No.1 reason that a company locates at a research campus, and FIFTEEN51 will provide housing for high-tech talent and young professionals in close proximity to where they work,” he said.

A new, $15 million high-tech building currently under construction will provide office and laboratory space for early-stage, high-tech companies to develop and commercialize their products and services.

Named “The Core – Collaboration. Research. Entrepreneurship,” it is designed to be the first stop for companies looking to locate on the Coldstream campus. The project will add much-needed wet lab space in Central Kentucky, as well as working space near the interstates for companies and individuals that need to travel quickly to regional facilities, UK said in a press release. It is being developed by the Woodbury Corp.

“This space will create new opportunities for businesses to establish themselves here in Kentucky, create jobs and contribute to economic growth,” Capilouto said.

Kentucky Technology Inc. (KTI), a subsidiary of the UK Research Foundation, will master lease 20,000-s.f. of the building’s estimated 40,000 s.f. KTI plans to sublease its space to appropriate high-tech companies. The facility will bring in startup companies being incubated at UK and other companies moving into the commonwealth.

The building will fill a facilities gap between small labs leased to companies in UK’s Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center (ASTeCC) building, and larger facilities used by established companies at Coldstream and other locations in the state, Ward said.

“Like other research parks that we partner with, we foresee continued growth and success at this campus that will surely establish it as the premier location for technological innovation in the region,” said Rick Woodbury, chairman of Woodbury Corp.

FIFTEEN51 Apartments, the first residential village in UK’s Coldstream Research Campus, is expected to start welcoming residents in the spring of 2022.

Construction is expected to be completed in early 2022.

“Coldstream Research Campus is an important key to economic development and growth in Lexington,” said Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton. “The partnership we’ve built with the University of Kentucky to develop this area creates a live, work, play and innovative environment. Lexington will continue its growth as a hub for high-tech development, and The Core is going to be a critical part of our move forward.”

Historic land swap benefits university and the community

UK and the city of Lexington have exciting new projects on the horizon thanks to a historic land swap that is transforming both the university’s campus and the city’s economic development offerings.

The land swap involves UK giving the city of Lexington 250 acres in and near the Coldstream Research Campus in exchange for city-owned property near campus and the city turning over control of several roads on and around campus. The deal allows UK to preserve a key entryway into the campus and advances efforts by UK and Lexington to build a long-term plan to create and promote more commercial development along and near campus corridors, UK officials said.

As part of the land swap, UK will own two parcels of land along a block located on the southwest side of Winslow Street, bordered by South Limestone and South Upper streets. In exchange, the city gets a total of 250 acres of land near Coldstream, 50 of which are already being developed. In June 2022, the city will take ownership of 200 acres of farmland that currently house a UK dairy research farm, and UK will receive formal control of more than 13.5 acres of roads, including Rose Street, Hilltop Avenue and part of Woodland Avenue.

The city will use the farmland for a much-needed 200-acre industrial park that officials estimated will cost between $17.3 million and $17.9 million. A master plan for the site is in the works, designed to help the city make sure the property is ready to market next summer.

The land swap is “potentially historic,” said Eric Monday, UK’s executive vice president for finance and administration.

Summit Biosciences, a Lexington-based pharmaceutical company focused on nasal spray medicines, expanded its operation at Coldstream in 2020 with a more than $19 million investment.

“For the University of Kentucky, this move would, potentially, create internship and employment opportunities for our students, many of whom want to stay in Lexington post-graduation. This is increasingly important as we strengthen our role as the commonwealth’s workforce development partner,” Monday said. “Lexington and the University of Kentucky are inextricably tied together, both in proximity and, in many ways, in vision. Our expectation is that the land swap—like our many other partnerships—will create shared benefits and progress for our community.”

The city is developing a Coldstream master plan, an infrastructure planning project to prepare the site for future development. In addition to building new roads and sidewalks and creating community space, the master plan also is seeking ways to protect and enhance the Cane Run Watershed, in which the 200-acre site is located.

The area will have bike pedways that run the perimeter of the park, and it will have access to the city’s Legacy Trail.

The land will be divided into 10-acre plots to make it as flexible as possible and to maximize its usage, said Kevin Atkins, chief development officer with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.

“We’ve already met with three or four companies who are interested in the 200-acre space,” he said.

Land for economic development is somewhat limited in Fayette County, so the city’s Coldstream project will open up some options for companies who want to locate here, said Gina Hampton Greathouse, Commerce Lexington’s executive vice president of economic development.

“Having that land come online in the next few years will bring new business attention back to Lexington. There are quite a few companies we’ve assisted in recent years that ended up locating in surrounding counties when they couldn’t find suitable land options in Fayette County,” she said. “This new economic development land option will most certainly spur more investment in Lexington proper.”

Over the past two years, there have been several big economic development projects in Lexington, including investments by Amazon, Everburn Manufacturing, Summit Biosciences, Georgia-Pacific, Blue Equine Pharmaceuticals, Baptist Health and others.

In addition to recruiting more companies to Lexington, Commerce Lexington has played a key role in business development and has been helping existing businesses stay the course in the uncharted waters of COVID-19. It has issued guidance to members across the region, and it formed the Lexington Economic Partnership team, which offers businesses a high-level overview of services available to them and helps companies address any unique challenges they face.

Commerce Lexington also administered the city’s Small Business Economic Recovery Program, a COVID-19 relief program that provides funds to help area businesses stay open, sustain employment or even increase it.

“I’m excited to see our city come fully back to life, post pandemic,” Gorton said. “Our employment has recovered to nearly pre-pandemic levels. COVID-19 is another challenge we have taken on together, and I’m very proud of our community response. I look forward to the completion of Baptist Health’s new campus, that will produce as many as 600 new good-paying jobs; to the opening later this year of the new Amazon facility, bringing 500 full- and part-time jobs to the northside; and to new economic development at Coldstream Research Campus.”

UK Office of Technology Commercialization by the numbers

Research awards for FY 2021

  • Research awards (grants and contracts) to UK totaled a record $468 million, an increase of $38.8 million from FY 2020 (9% increase)
  • Federal agencies awarded UK $281.2 million, including National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants that totaled $176.4 million, and National Science Foundation (NSF) grants that totaled $26.6 million
  • State agencies awarded $108 million to UK
  • Industries awarded $28.6 million to UK

IP development, patents, licenses in FY 2020

  • 99 invention disclosures
  • 157 patents filed
  • 22 new patents issued
  • 822 worldwide patent assets
  • 27 licenses and options executed
  • $2.65 million royalty income
  • 6 new startups

Coldstream Research Campus

  • 735 acres
  • 50 organizations
  • 2,250 employees
  • 22 buildings totaling
  • 1.37 million s.f.
  • 344,000 new square feet under development
  • 93.7% occupancy

ASTeCC Campus Incubator

  • 20 companies located on-site
  • 65 private company employees
  • 10 faculty R&D labs
  • 4 university centers
  • 64 graduate companies since 1994

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