Proposed football stadium in Lexington on High Street includes hotel

Lexington Pro Soccer on Thursday released renderings of a proposed 6,000-seater football stadium, 160-room hotel and 250-unit apartment complex in the Central Bank Center’s High Street car park.

Lexington Pro Soccer was one of four developers to submit proposals for the High Street car park to the Lexington Center Corporation, which oversees the Central Bank Center. The other proposals have not been published. Lexington Pro Soccer made their proposal public on Friday.

A board committee reviewing the proposals will meet on February 18. It is unclear whether the committee will make a recommendation at this meeting.

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Lexington Pro Soccer have released renderings of their High Street stadium and entertainment venue project. Lexington Pro Football/People

“Our goal is to build a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose venue – centered around a professional football stadium – right in the heart of downtown Lexington,” said Bill Shively, majority owner of Lexington Pro Soccer. “The development we hope to construct would be a significant economic driver for the city of Lexington and the surrounding region, expanding the range of entertainment opportunities that downtown Lexington has to offer its residents and visitors.”

Designed by Gensler, the 6,000-seat Lexington Pro Soccer multi-purpose venue and stadium would feature 45,000 square feet of entertainment-focused retail with patio views overlooking both the stadium and Rupp Arena. Renderings also show a 160-bedroom hotel, a 250-unit “premium multi-family residential development” and parking garages that would exceed the number of spaces the High Street lot currently has.

On Friday, Lexington Pro Soccer officials declined to give further details of the proposal, saying it was premature. It is unclear how much the total complex would cost.

Gensler designed several football stadiums, including Banc of California Stadium and BMO Field in Toronto.

Gensler officials said downtown Lexington was an ideal location for a new stadium and entertainment district.

“Location can play a big role in the overall success of a new entertainment venue,” said Ryan Sickman, principal at Gensler. “The proposed location of the Lexington Pro Soccer Stadium and Entertainment Complex is ideal, providing local residents with easy access to the site and contributing to the existing growth and vibrancy of the downtown core with designs for new retail opportunities at the retail, lodging and entertainment.”

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Lexington Pro Soccer have released renderings of their High Street stadium and entertainment venue project. Lexington Pro Football/People

It was announced in October that Lexington had been awarded a USL League One expansion franchise. The team is expected to start playing in 2023. The team said they would initially start playing at a college facility until a stadium is built.

The team, now known as Lexington Pro Soccer, will soon announce its name, crest and colors.

The redevelopment of the High Street car park has been underway for a long time and is part of a tax increase funding district. New net taxes generated by development can be used by private developers to pay for infrastructure costs, such as the cost of building parking lots.

This TIF district includes the current Convention Center expansion, Rupp Arena improvements, Krikorian Theater complex, Town Branch Commons and the High Street car park.

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Lexington Pro Soccer have released renderings of their High Street stadium and entertainment venue project. Lexington Pro Football/People

This story was originally published January 21, 2022 11 a.m.

Beth Musgrave has covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for more than a decade. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has worked as a journalist in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Washington DC.

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