Townley Center, the 54-acre complex of retail, services, restaurants and homes on Leestown Road, is almost all built out.
The Staybridge Suites at 125 Louie Place is one of the final pieces to be developed. Staybridge is expected to open later in the spring, according to Anderson Communities.
The wrapping-up at the Townley development marks the end of more than a decade of construction at the former farm where developer Dennis Anderson has honed his ideas about mixing homes and businesses with what he calls "sprinkled" zone changes — changes for chunks at a time rather than on one vast parcel, which he calls a "piling" zone change.
Anderson said the sprinkled zones allow him to build a mixed-use community. That's important, he said, because it gives people who live in Townley Park, the area's home and apartment area, the option to walk rather than drive to restaurants and services in their community.
Townley Park has 50 single-family homes, 59 townhomes and 300 apartments, Anderson said. Downtown is about five minutes away via Leestown Road.
Anderson said the development is a good fit for newlyweds and empty nesters who like a maintenance-free lifestyle, including landscaping and mowing.
Space for one more sit-down restaurant is available, Anderson said. He'd like to see a restaurant there with a strong set of breakfast offerings, such as a First Watch or Panera Bread.
One more fast-food spot is available and probably will be a chicken or fish restaurant, Anderson said.
Anderson's company, which employs 95, developed Townley Center. He also developed such retail and office developments as Pasadena Plaza (near Nicholasville Road) and Sand Lake (off Richmond Road and Man o' War Boulevard) as well as housing developments including McConnell's Trace (off Leestown Road).
Anderson, 62, began his career as a pharmacist and moved into real estate after he began investing in homes with $12,000 he had saved. Dennis Anderson Real Estate later became Anderson Communities because Anderson liked the idea of constructing mixed-use developments with an emphasis on walkable spaces.
"I always liked the real estate business, but I never thought I'd ever leave pharmacy," he said.
Townley was inspired by "new-traditional" developments including Celebration, Fla., Anderson said. To illustrate how, he draws a pyramid on his conference room table and starts writing words in segments building up to the top: clean, safe, well-maintained, pride, esteem.
"We wanted this community to look different," he said.
Residents needed a "wow" factor from living in Townley: "They went to college and got their education. They want a place that when people come, they say, 'You've done well.'"
Anderson said the key is balancing private space with public space. Residents want to interact with their neighbors via front porches and walking trails, but they also want to control how much.
"Social interaction, that's the epitome of a better community," he said. " ... People out on the street, that's a safety thing to do."
Townley Park won then-Mayor Jim Newberry's "community of the year" award, a Lexington homebuilders' project of the year, a Kentucky Homebuilders design award and a Bluegrass Tomorrow Vision Award.
Businesses at Townley include Applebee's, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Walgreens, Shell, Urgent Treatment Center, Firehouse Subs, Vinaigrette, Orange Leaf Yogurt, Zaxby's, McDonald's, Snap Fitness and AT&T.
Anderson Communities also has an office there as well as a separate new-home store near Vinaigrette and Orange Leaf.
Anderson's upcoming project, Amerson Orchard in Georgetown, is going to be much bigger than Townley — 385 acres versus 54 acres.
"We've got the same kind of downtown feel" there, Anderson said — with businesses out front, homes in the back, with walkable streets linking the two. The new development is also close to Scott County's new Lemons Mill Elementary School, which opened in 2013.
In Fayette County, more than 300 homes will be added to McConnell's Trace on Leestown Road, he said.
Anderson's Midway Station development at the interstate interchange will be 185 acres and will be called Vineyards, Anderson said. Work will start there in the fall.
Anderson said that while infill is in vogue now in Lexington, his interest is primarily in building new
"We do a little infill, but I can't run my business doing infill," he said.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/03/15/3748607_townley-center-almost-done-developer.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
GEORGETOWN — Let's take a swing down crowded Highway 460, also known as Paris Pike, in Scott County.
We're about a mile from downtown Georgetown, but really, this is a Main Street of its own little city. Along this stretch, Scott County isn't just growing, it's flat-out booming: New homes are stacked on the rolling hills like cordwood.
Scott County is the fastest-growing county in Kentucky, and it shows. It has Toyota, one of Central Kentucky's largest employers, as well as the state's biggest high school, the 2,400-student Scott County High School.
"The Georgetown real estate market is very strong," said Sha Fister of Rector Hayden realtors, which has a Georgetown office. "There is quite a bit of development potential in all directions around Scott County. ... There's a lot of area heading from Scott County to Bourbon County."
How Scott County coalesced as a boom town is a bit harder to explain, but let's give a one-word signal: Toyota. The auto factory is expanding into Lexus production beginning this fall and adding 600 workers; it is already one of Central Kentucky's largest private employers, with 7,000 workers.
But that's not all Fister sees. Homebuyers in Scott County aren't just buying convenience to Toyota and the satellite growth around it, but also close to Lexington: He notes it's a 22-minute commute from Rector Hayden's Lexington office, in Beaumont, to its Georgetown office.
For people moving in who are used to longer daily commutes, the space between one of Kentucky's 120 counties and another isn't as large as once perceived.
There's also the matter of neighborhood schools in addition to available land: "There's been a lot of emphasis in the last decade or two on education. The school system there is willing to grow."
Internal Revenue Service statistics of migration between counties as well as census data show that Fayette County is losing some of its population to Scott County. Fayette County's commitment to preserving its rural area and restricting the growth of its Urban Service Area — the land within which new homes can be built — has tamped the once-raging growth of Lexington. Lexington last added acreage to its Urban Service Area in 1996 and has instead since opted to identify acreage within the current area available for development as well as land considered underused that could be redeveloped.
The real estate boom in Scott County shows where some of the people who have opted out of Fayette County are settling.
Lexington continues to grow. But the counties around it, including Scott and Jessamine, are also growing and luring more affluent homebuyers across an increasingly permeable county border.
Lexington builder Dennis Anderson is one who has seen the potential in Scott County. His Amerson Orchard development in Georgetown is being built on land rezoned in 2010 from agricultural to residential and commercial use.
The development has been approved for 489 units and has built 153, Anderson said. The 336 home sites available are priced from $140,000 to $275,000, with ranch and two-story plans available.
Fister, of Rector-Hayden, also said that although there has been some small growth in upscale homes, most of the sales are in the $150,000 to $250,000 range.
Anderson is blunt about part of Scott County's appeal: "They're going to spend $20,000 less on their home in Scott than in Fayette."
He also said that part of the migration is aspirational as much as it is work-related: after fulfilling basic needs of safety and being near work or school, homebuyers look for nearby models of more affluent people and homes which they may be able to attain. "If you see the high-income people living out of town, people want to live close to where they live," Anderson said. "They're going to go there and do both."
Matt Ruther, director of the Kentucky State Data Center at the University of Louisville, said that American Community Survey data shows that high earners — those earning more than $100,000 annually — are moving into Jessamine County. Those with incomes of $50-100,000, solidly middle-class and up, are moving into Scott, he said.
The most recent Internal Revenue Service outflow statistics, from 2010-11, show that Fayette lost 398 taxpayers to Scott, while Scott lost 384 to Fayette.
That doesn't seem like much of a difference until you consider the income levels attached to those people.
For those moving into Scott County, the average income was $41,346; for those moving to Fayette County, it's $34,789.
A similar disparity is shown in the Fayette and Jessamine County statistics. In 2010-11, Fayette lost 573 taxpayers to Jessamine, while Jessamine moved 554 to Fayette. Again, the difference is in average income: The new Jessamine County residents made an average of $53,795, while those moving into Fayette earned an average of $32,888.
The boom in residential construction in Kentucky's suburban counties means that there's less growth money from property tax coming into Fayette's coffers. Property taxes help fund schools, counties, health departments and other agencies for their home counties.
"At the higher end of the income scale, it does look like Scott County is gaining from that, but it does look like Jessamine County is moving even more," Ruther said.
Fayette County continues to gain population, though: Long-range city planners note that while Lexington registered 295,803 residents in the 2010 census, the estimate for 2014 was 310,797 people.
For comparison, Central Kentuckians can look toward the Jefferson-Oldham divide, Ruther said, where high earners around Jefferson County created a high-earning suburban county next door. While Scott is the fastest-growing county in the state, the second fastest-growing is Oldham.
Further afield, Portland, Ore. and Boulder, Colo., have urban growth boundaries to maintain both city size and urban integrity, he said. Home prices increase as supply is limited, Ruther said.
"Certainly schools are one of the top things that people cite when they leave the city," Ruther said.
"We see this pretty much all over," Ruther said. "In Oldham County, wealthier individuals move out because they are able to. ... How to fix this policy-wise, that's a struggle — how to tell people when they're coming into your county to use your amenities that they have to pay for them."
Anderson said that while Lexington has begun to emphasize infill developments — re-invigorating neglected areas already within the urban service area — it's difficult for him to make money on infill developments alone, and wonders if Lexington has considered the long-term effects of higher-income individuals flocking to surrounding counties.
"In Fayette County, it seems like we're awfully proud of ourselves," Anderson said, citing Lexington's conscious and repeated decisions to limit growth.
But Anderson noted that such decisions have costs.
Cheryl Truman: (859)231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.
Read more here: https://www.kentucky.com/2015/05/17/3856293_scott-county-homebuilding-is-exploding.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
Dennis Anderson, president of Anderson Communities, who has several apartments in the area between South Broadway and South Limestone, is starting construction on a 40-unit apartment complex on Simpson Avenue.
Anderson wants to use tax-increment financing to pay for most of the cost of the tunnel. Tax-increment financing uses new taxes generated from a development to pay for infrastructure costs. In this case, new taxes are projected to pay for $2.17 million of the $2.2 million price tag for building the underground tunnel.
"It's the right thing to do," Anderson said. "It's a public safety issue. We have had three students who have been killed on those railroad tracks in that area."
Tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts have been approved in other areas of the city, but Anderson is the first developer to ask other government taxing units — Lextran and the Lexington Public Library — to participate in the TIF. Only the city and the state have pledged to use new taxes generated from proposed developments to pay for infrastructure improvements.
Anderson also is the first developer to propose using tax-increment financing to build a tunnel.
The Lextran board is scheduled to discuss Anderson's request at its meeting in April, said Jeff Fugate, chairman of the Lextran board.
Anderson said he plans to approach the library board next. The Urban County Council would be the last to vote on the proposal.
The city is aware of Anderson's plans.
Anderson has discussed his proposal with the city but has not submitted a formal application , said Kevin Atkins, the city's chief development officer.
"This is still in the very early stages," Atkins said. "There is currently no application pending, no public hearing requested, etc."
Anderson originally proposed building a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks, but that proved to be too costly. There is an electrical substation in the area and high-voltage electrical lines. Just to move those lines would cost more than $1.5 million, he said.
That's when Anderson and his engineers began exploring a tunnel under the railroad tracks. The proposed tunnel would be close to Simpson Avenue.
"We will make it safe," Anderson said. "It will be like the tunnel that currently connects the two courthouses or the tunnel you take at the airport that connects two terminals."
To get access to the tunnel, people will need swipe cards and have to pass criminal background checks.
"We will be working with the police to make sure that it's safe," Anderson said. "We don't want to cure one unsafe situation and create another."
According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, 15 people have been killed on Fayette County railroad tracks from January 2000 to December 2014.
According to economic projections Anderson included in a Feb. 12 letter to the Lextran board, Lextran would receive $32,383 in new property taxes in the first year that the apartment complex is open. Of that $32,383, only $13,242 would be committed to paying off the cost of the tunnel. Lextran would receive $19,141. The city's portion that could be used to pay off the tunnel would be $42,837. The library's portion would be $11,035 in the first year, according to the letter.
Anderson cautioned in his letter to the Lextran board that the area also would need stormwater improvements estimated to cost $1.72 million. That's in addition to the $2.2 million for the tunnel. If the city, the library and Lextran agree to participate in the TIF district, those taxes would pay for $2.17 million of that, the letter says.
As a private developer, Anderson said, he cannot afford to pay for the tunnel.
"We have been working on this for more than a year and a half," Anderson said. "It will likely take us another year and a half to get everyone on the same page. I think it's the right thing to do for safety reasons. But sometimes the right thing to do is not always the easiest thing to do."
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/03/31/3777931_developer-wants-to-use-tif-money.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
MIDWAY — Woodford County officials hope to jump-start a stalled industrial park in Midway by taking a portion of state and local tax revenue to pay for public improvements like new streets and storm sewers for a new residential-retail-office project.
On Tuesday, Woodford Fiscal Court will hold a workshop to discuss the proposed use of tax-increment financing to assist the development of Midway Station, a 180-acre park off Interstate 64's Exit 65 for Ky. 341. A vote isn't expected until a later date.
The Midway City Council approved the plan in December but county magistrates need to give the nod as well. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Administration also would have to approve the plan.
Midway Station is owned by the Woodford County Economic Development Authority, the county's chief recruiter for new jobs. Lexington developer Dennis Anderson has had an option to buy the property since 2011; last year that option was extended until September.
The option "is somewhat contingent" on approval of the tax-increment financing, said EDA Chairman John Soper.
If the TIF doesn't get approved, Anderson can withdraw the purchase option, Soper said.
As long as the option is in place, Anderson is responsible for the interest payments on the $4.7 million in remaining debt on Midway Station, Soper said. If he were not paying that interest, Midway City Council and Woodford Fiscal Court would have to use taxpayer dollars to make those payments of about $68,400 every six months, Soper said.
Anderson is best known for Townley Center on Leestown Road in Lexington. The development has a mix of private homes, apartments, retail stores, restaurants and a hotel. Anderson would like to do a similar project at Midway Station; he anticipates construction of 221 single-family homes and 139 townhouse units over a 20-year period, plus additional retail, office and industrial space.
The site could be a success, given its proximity to the interstate, by reworking the site for use by restaurants and retail stores, according to Commonwealth Economics, a Lexington consulting firm for Anderson. The prospect of office space or nearby industries "will help drive the attractiveness" of the site for retailers and restaurants, the consultants' report says.
Anderson also developed the property on the south side of I-64, across from Midway Station, that brought a McDonald's restaurant and a Shell station to Midway.
The Woodford development authority installed streets, some sewers, utilities, gutters and sidewalks at Midway Station in the late 1990s in order to attract business owners interested in "shovel ready" lots.
In 2006-07, Lexington's Blue Grass Stockyards explored the idea of building the largest stockyard east of the Mississippi River on the site. But the company withdrew its plan when opposition arose.
Three businesses in Midway Station employ less than 20 people, and the park has failed to attract larger industries.
A description of conditions that make the park eligible for tax-increment financing were included in the Midway City Council ordinance: "The property remains undeveloped in large part because community sentiment, economics and local land-use plans now agree that a mix of uses rather than a major intensive, industrial use is more appropriate."
"It is highly unlikely that any uses other than a balanced mix of residential, retail (and) office ... would locate there," the ordinance says.
Midway Station is currently zoned for a mix of industrial, retail/commercial, office and residential uses. In 2008, the site was approved as a mixed-use development, but that coincided with the recession, so there was little activity or interest.
But, the park lacks public parking, sanitary and storm sewers, and electric utility lines suitable for non-industrial uses, according to Commonwealth Economics, the consulting firm.
That means "the entire site must be re-graded and new infrastructure installed before any new development can occur," according to a development plan. "The cost to make all the necessary public improvements is prohibitive without the funding mechanism that the TIF program offers.
"Without such TIF assistance, development of the site is unlikely to occur."
It is estimated that about $75.1 million in local and state "incremental" revenues are expected to be generated over 20 years to pay for the $31 million in improvements.
Tax-increment financing is a tool used by local governments to jump-start improvements in blighted areas. In this case, the city and county pledge to take a portion of new occupational and property taxes generated by a redeveloped Midway Station to reimburse Anderson for upfront costs of the public improvements, said Casey Bolton with Commonwealth Economics. The increased tax revenues are referred to as the "tax increment."
Anderson can't get any of that money until $20 million in new investment is put into Midway Station.
Local and state governments do not actually pay anything out of pocket. The tax increment is taken from money the city, county and state wouldn't have had, but for the project. Tax money earmarked for schools and various taxing districts would still go to those entities.
"This is what it is going to take to get Midway Station off-center and be something productive versus what it is right now," Soper said. "Right now, there are no property taxes being generated at all because the EDA owns it and we're essentially a government body, so we don't pay property taxes on it."
Soper said EDA is comfortable with Anderson because "we know what he builds. He's done everything he said he would do for us. This is another way of helping him and to achieve our goals into turning" Midway Station into a successful development.
Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/01/24/3659214/woodford-planners-hope-tif-funds.html#storylink=cpy