One powerful man's nothing is a hundred men's lives.
November 20, 2009 8:51 PM   Subscribe

Lexington’s Mayor, Jim Newberry, bristled at critical questions about The Dame block, “Nothing of consequence ever happened on that block.” Richie Wireman begs to differ.

Wireman spent 4 months documenting the final stages of the long and controversial demise of one city block full of established local businesses to make way for a dubiously financed high-rise development.

While no longer a gaping eyesore, today, the project is not exactly as advertised.
posted by T.D. Strange (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I like the begs to differ link, but it gave me seizures.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:20 AM on November 21, 2009

Great story. I grew up near Lexington, and have missed much of the drama over this mess. The Webb company has long been responsible for trashing huge swaths of downtown Lexington for ugly generic office buildings and this is just another fascinating chapter in a 30 year story.

Just out of curiosity, I wonder how soon after the announcement of the equally unbuilt Museum Plaza did the Webb companies announce this building? Dud always seemed a bit envious of larger...uh, buildings.
posted by Mcable at 7:02 AM on November 21, 2009

This makes me sad. I've been feeling a little bit homesick for Lexington anyway, and that was one of my favorite parts. The Dame was awesome :(
posted by little e at 7:27 AM on November 21, 2009

Pfft...Who needs a business plan when you have your Good 'ol Boy Network kickin it. I predict they will eventually sell the property at great loss to a local mega-church.
posted by gigbutt at 8:25 AM on November 21, 2009

Hey this happened to you too? We had a neighborhood (SugarHouse) revitalized over a period of 10 years by a street full of small businesses. Yes they were in run down buildings but that contributed to their charm, that a strip of small and local businesses brought independent and popular revenue to our city. Then the city council was wowed by a large developer who promised to come in, bulldoze the ratty old buildings, build new ground level shopping and condo high rises. The city council signed off on his plan, only to realize that he was going to jack the rent up so high that only large, out of state corporate entities could afford rent and all the local small businesses would be forced out. After razing the shopping district, the small businesses fled the area to more stable ones with lower rents. Without a source of income for his property, the land developer suddenly realized that he was out of money, and due to the economic crisis, he couldn't get a loan for more. So now, instead of a vibrant, local, and wonderful shopping district we have an empty lot, covered with wood chips and some dead stick trees lovingly referred to as the Sugarhouse Crater.
posted by msbutah at 9:05 AM on November 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

It's not the first time this has happened here, either. But I guess everyone likes Phoenix Park well enough now.
posted by dilettante at 11:05 AM on November 21, 2009

Without a source of income for his property, the land developer suddenly realized that he was out of money, and due to the economic crisis, he couldn't get a loan for more.

The Lexington city council approved the Centrepointe project based only on Dudley Webb's assurances that he had secured $200mil from a single wealthy investor who has never been publicly identified...and has since conveniently died (without a will, at least according to Webb). Alternate financing plans have included everyone from wealthy oil shieks, to a group of unidentified banks and a hotel to the Hard Rock Cafe and a group of magical unicorns made of money.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:12 AM on November 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

a group of magical unicorns made of money

From the developer's FAQ:

Q. How will the project be financed?
A. It will be financed with a combination of debt and equity.
posted by effbot at 6:51 AM on November 22, 2009

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