Future unclear for Lexington mansion on prime property

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Many of you have asked us about the future of an 85-year old mansion that was the filming location for a horror movie. "Meadowcrest" sits on prime property on Winchester Road at Interstate 75. But the mansion is slowly falling apart, and a zoning conflict threatens to make its future...very dark.

Mansion built in 1929-1932 sits on prime property on Winchester Road near Interstate 75.

From the moment you go through the front gates of Meadowcrest, it's obvious, it's days as one of the finest mansions in the Bluegrass are long gone.

Christy Cowgill Harris says, "Oh it's sad because it was beautiful, it was a beautiful place."

Harris, of Lexington, and her family bought the mansion and 85-acres from the Madden family about 20-years ago. Harris says, "My sisters and I, there's 5 of us, Mom and Dad, and the 3 of us, have just been waiting to hopefully develop it, and make it into something really beneficial for Lexington."

Built of concrete walls and steel beams supporting a roof of slate shingles, a 1938 article described the mansion as entirely fire proof, but it's been vacant for two decades, and time has worn it down. The owners want to bring the mansion back to life in a "new" development.
"Keep the house of course, the mansion, use it as a kind of center piece of the development. Add some hotels, restaurants, retail, some offices."

Jim Duncan, Director of Planning in Fayette County, says "We've been concerned for quite some time. This land has not developed for over 20-years now."

In 1996 city planners designated this property, and two others in Fayette County- "an Economic Development zone." It calls for putting manufacturing or light industry here, to create high paying jobs.

Sam Dick says, "So that's a must?"

Duncan says "It really is. Our community needs to be able to offer opportunities for economic growth and this land is ideally situated for that."

Harris disagrees, "We don't think on this corner, I-75 and Winchester Road, with Baptist Health as our neighbors, that a manufacturing plant or industrial kind of use is the best use for this piece of property."

The owners stopped putting money into the mansion years ago when it looked like their development plans were stalled. One estimate has it costing a million dollars to renovate the old grand old beauty.

Thursday night the Urban County Council will consider adding some more businesses that will be allowed in the economic development zone, like breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

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