Centrepointe Delay

There's a "sound of silence" right now in downtown Lexington, with the absence of hammers, drills and big construction equipment.

A major building project was supposed to be going on now, with a 35- story high-rise set to change the face of downtown.

More that a week into the New Year , there's still no activity on the now empty lot. Anyone blaming the recession for that delay would be wrong according to developer Dudley Webb, who says the decreasing cost of steel will make the tower easier to build.

"Absolutely, in fact prices have moved that way in recent weeks. The delays are attributable to the fact that we have to go through the permitting process. Obviously, with a project of a million square feet and $250 million, it requires a lot of permitting and reviews by the city and the state. Everything is fine, and we're still going," Webb said.

That's thanks in part to the private financing Webb has secured from sources who have been able to weather the bad economy.

"Financing is difficult, but fortunately we had already had ours lined up, but this is gonna make it that much more important that we do this project because it's going to be a tremendous benefit translating to jobs," Webb said.

Under the category of first things first, there is a lot of underground work to be done for the parking garage, and that could include some blasting.

"You can either blast it and get it over with or you can rake it out a bucket at a time and it'll take forever. We would prefer to blast it," Webb said.

Webb says the structure will start to take shape starting this summer.

The Webb companies have not revealed the identity of the private investors behind the project.

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