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Construction picks up as Lexington's economy rebounds

Posted at 7:20 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 09:48:37-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Construction has started on a 260-unit residential complex on the University of Kentucky's Coldstream Research Campus.

The complex is being called Fifteen51 and the plan is to open in 2022. According to the press release from the University of Kentucky, the "multi-family residential complex will offer Coldstream’s high-tech workforce the ability to live, work, play and innovate all within the research campus."

UK officials also hope the addition of residential apartments, townhomes, and other amenities will help attract more businesses to the area.

"Fifteen51 will activate Coldstream 24/7 and make it an even more attractive location for high tech organizations and their employees," said George Ward, the executive director of the Coldstream Research Campus.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton was at the ground-breaking on Wednesday. The city played a significant role in making the building of the complex happen. Essentially, the city agreed to change the zoning for Coldstream Research Campus to allow up to 15% of its land for housing or retail. Before the change, residential apartments were not allowed in the area.

Now that the complex is being built, Gorton hopes more businesses will move to the area.

“The city has 250 acres open for economic development on or near Coldstream, and we are focusing on attracting high-tech companies,” said Mayor Gorton. “This new residential village will make Coldstream even more attractive to these companies.”

And this isn't the only construction project Gorton is excited about. Across Lexington, construction is underway, and the mayor says that's a good thing.

"We're building, said Gorton. "And that's a great sign."

"Someone said to me not too long ago, what is with all the cranes? And I said cranes are a good thing," said Gorton. "They represent investment in the community. They represent new projects and growth and that's a great thing for our community."

Gorton says it's also a sign of economic rebound. The early months of the pandemic were up and down for the city. But the city survived, and the mayor credits the area's economic success to the mix of different industries found in the area.

"Those things have made our economy strong and enabled folks to continue building and developing and strengthening our economy - even in the middle of a pandemic," said Gorton.