Council expects to hear hotel plan for downtown

By Rebecca Sweeney

The skyline of downtown Lexington may be set to change after a presentation at today’s city council work session.

Second district city councilman Tom Blues said he expects, but is not certain, that plans will be presented for a 40-plus story hotel on the Rosenberg Block.

Harold Tate, president and executive director of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority — whom Blues expected to present the plans — was not available for comment.

The buildings in the Rosenberg Block — between the corners of West Main and South Upper streets and West Vine and South Limestone streets — are currently home to bars and music venues, including The Dame, Mia’s and Buster’s. Tom Martin, chairman of the Downtown Entertainment Taskforce previously told the Kernel he expected the buildings to be demolished.

For students on campus, the block is a cultural center. Touring bands often make a point to stop at The Dame, something that shows Lexington’s ability to rival Louisville and Cincinnati for music, said WRFL music director Ainsley Wagoner. Buster’s gives local artists who might not be invited to The Dame a chance to build a fan base, she said.

“I have heard rumors that those businesses will be moved, but it’s still such a disappointing plan of action,” said Wagoner, a pre-interior design sophomore. “I keep hoping this city will put more of an emphasis on culture, sustainability and the arts, but this is a direct hit.”

Melynda Milburn, aide to councilwoman Linda Gorton, said council members were told “the presentation is about a major downtown development that will be proposed.”

Milburn said none of the council members knew anything definitive beyond that. But Blues said the plan he expects to hear would probably result in debate.

“This is a huge project, bound to be extremely controversial,” he said.

The council work session will be held today at 3 p.m. in the Council Chamber of the Government Building, 200 E. Main St.