Developer proposes $200M mixed-use stadium complex for Lexington, KY

21 March 2017

A developer has proposed a $200 million mixed-use complex — anchored by a 5,400-seat minor-league baseball stadium — for the site of what is now a 20-acre parking lot in downtown Lexington, KY, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Aside from the $40 million stadium, the new development would include three parking garages, a hotel and mixed-use buildings, all with ground-floor retail and residential space above.

Grand Slam Development's baseball-themed plan is one of five proposals for the parcel being considered by the Lexington Center Corp., the non-profit board that has the final say over development of the space.

Aside from the expected economic benefit of such a massive redevelopment of the lot, the money generated from leasing the lot will be used to finance a renovation to Lexington's convention center.

The city's convention center business could gain from the addition of a baseball park nearby, as it could serve as a unique draw in a competitive field. Major cities across the U.S. are either in the planning stages or underway with convention center expansions to lure more business their way.

Even a city like Las Vegas, awash in 42 million tourists a year, has a $1.4 billion convention center expansion planned for 2018 so that officials can vie for bigger shows. The same goes for New York City's Jacob K. Javits Center, which broke ground on a $1.5 billion expansion earlier this month.  New York City has no shortage of tourists, but officials have focused on bringing in the lucrative convention business with a 500,000-square-foot exhibition hall, a massive ballroom, 27 new loading docks, a pavilion and a green roof with a terrace.

Another baseball stadium project further along in the construction process is in Arlington, TX, where the Texas Rangers are building a new venue. In November, Arlington voters cleared the way for construction to begin by giving the green light for $500 million in bonds to help finance construction of the stadium. The deal keeps the team from relocating until at least 2053 and will be funded by various city tax increases. The team will also kick in $500 million toward the stadium and will be responsible for any cost overruns. The Rangers said they expect to be playing in the new stadium no later than 2021.