Neither party would say who the new potential player is, but that the city was satisfied the new party has the money needed. Lexington had said that since no work had been done on the underground parking garage for 60-consecutive days, the developers were required by mutual agreement, to fill-in the hole at the construction site.
The developers, The Webb Companies, said it had proof work had been done at the site during that 60-day period, and the company threatened to sue the city. This latest news from Thursday evening, apparently puts that on hold.
The city has agreed to allow the new development group up to three months to assess the project. The long-delayed project is supposed to include a hotel, retail and restaurant space, an office tower and apartment building.
A block of buildings was torn down to make way for the development in 2008. Construction on the underground parking garage didn’t get underway until late last year.
The following is the joint statement from CentrePointe developers and the city that was released Thursday night:
In the spirit of cooperation and with the goal of a successful development, the city and the CentrePointe development team have been in conversation.
An interested private development partner approached the CentrePointe development team early this week and has asked for time to explore whether the project is right for them.
This new third party has asked that they remain unnamed at this time. "It’s early in the process and the third party hasn’t made a firm decision about whether it will be involved in the project,” said Susan Straub, city spokeswoman. “But city officials have met with this group and have confidence in its financial ability to develop a project of this magnitude.”
Straub said, “Lexington’s patience is wearing thin on CentrePointe, but everyone views this as an important development to the community. We need to give this new company time to do its evaluation. This is a private project.”
The plan means that the city will delay action on its restoration agreement with the developers. The agreement requires that developers either restore the site or provide $4.4 million to return the downtown block to its pre-existing condition (before it was excavated for an underground parking garage).
This statement will be the last public statement by either the city or the development team until the development team, property owners and the new third party make a decision on whether or not to proceed with a new partnership. That decision will be made in 90 days or less.