Changing The Face Of Downtown Lexington

Lexington's skyline may be in for a major change.

Tuesday morning, the Webb Company unveiled its plans for a new development downtown.

The 40 story hotel would be built on the block from Limestone to Upper, between Main and Vine Streets.

The developer says the hotel would include space for retailers and restaurants. It would include an underground parking garage and a rooftop restaurant. It is expected the new complex would bring about 920 on-site jobs.

In all, it would cost about 250 million dollars for the project, which would make it the most expensive building in Lexington.

Developers say to help pay for it, they'll rely on TIF, tax increment financing. That funding will go to pay for public infrastructure like sidewalks and sewers.

If it is built, businesses such as The Dame, Mia's, Busters and others would have to move to make room for the tower. Developers say those buildings cannot be saved because they'll have to totally excavate the area.

Maribeth Tolson, co-owner of Mia's says she would like to be given a spot in the new development.

"I think it's only fair for those of us who have been here already if they are going to put retail and restaurants in the new development," Toloson said.

Tolson says the city has said it would work with her to relocate, but she says no matter what Mia's will remain downtown.

If approved, developers say they hope to break ground in August and would like to have the project finished in time for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

We'll have much more on this story coming up on 27 NEWSFIRST at five.

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