Campus News

Land Swap Will Enhance Corridors, Could Spur Infill Development, Jobs in Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2017) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees Friday approved a potentially transformative town-gown real-estate deal with a private developer involving several key parcels of land.

The real-estate deal will help UK — in partnership with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s administration — preserve a key entryway into the city and campus, while also leading to a major downtown retail development.

The development will potentially create hundreds of construction jobs and economic development in the heart of the city, moves that would significantly advance efforts by UK and Lexington in their joint efforts to build a long-term plan to create and promote more commercial development along near-campus corridors

“In partnership with Mayor Gray, we have a substantial opportunity to continue the transformation of our campus,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “At the same time, this proposal allows us – working with the private sector -- to contribute in a substantive and meaningful way to the continued revitalization of an increasingly vibrant downtown and the commercial corridors that connect campus to the community.”

Details of the transaction approved by the UK Board at its June meeting Friday include:

--UK will receive ownership of two parcels of land along a block located on the southwest side of Winslow Street, bordered by South Limestone and South Upper streets.

Core Spaces — a Chicago-based real estate company — has purchase and sales agreements on the parcels. These parcels, university officials said, represent a critical entryway into the university campus, particularly as the last phase of the Newtown Pike extension is being completed. One of the parcels in question is owned by the Edwin P. Lyle family. The family wanted the property to be used to enhance the university and the City of Lexington's plan.

UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday said the parcels of land could be utilized for a number of important initiatives. Monday said that, with board approval, the campus will begin a process over the next few months with multiple stakeholders to determine the best use for this important property and entryway into campus.

UK’s student body has increased by 15 percent in the last six years to an all-time high last fall of about 30,200 students. UK’s north campus has been a central point of growth and transformation over the last several years. About 2,300 students live in residence halls on north campus. Good Samaritan Hospital already has treated about 7,000 patients this year. The Singletary Center for the Arts is home to a vibrant art museum and busy entertainment and performance venue. And, in 2018, the university will open a new state-of-the-art Student Center that will serve as the living room for the campus.

“Under President Capilouto’s leadership and that of our Board of Trustees, we have moved strategically and intentionally over the last six years to transform living, learning, research, and health care buildings and spaces across our campus,” Monday said. “This transaction will continue that transformation and, in partnership with the city of Lexington, will help enhance critical corridors in and around the campus and on major transportation arterials near downtown.”

--Core Spaces, in return, will receive two properties currently owned by UK. The first parcel is the parking lot at Jersey Street, which UK acquired in 2009 as part of the purchase of Good Samaritan Hospital.

Core Spaces is interested in developing retail and boutique student housing at the location, along with parking to support the development.

--Core Spaces also would receive a parcel of land from UK, located at Virginia Avenue and South Limestone, on which it plans to develop student housing. UK also will work to acquire and transfer ownership of one additional parcel of land at Maxwelton Court to Core Spaces that would support the Virginia and Limestone development.

UK and Core Spaces this week planned to sign a memorandum of understanding, outlining the proposed land swap, subject to approval Friday by the Board of Trustees and the completion of final negotiations.

“This is a big win, one that represents two additional major investments in Lexington," Mayor Gray said. "We’re excited to have more mixed use development that’s a short walk to downtown and campus.”

"Core Spaces is honored to be a part of a positive process and historic redevelopment with the university and the local community to help enhance their goals in a favorable way. The urban infill projects will result in high end properties in key locations in the vibrant city of Lexington and immediately adjacent to the university, which is our core mission when entering new markets," added Tom Harrington Jr., director of acquisitions for Core Spaces. 

“Our success over the last six years has been based on a vision to take a great university and make it one of the best residential research campuses in America,” said UK Board Chair Britt Brockman. “That vision is working because of the power of partnership — partnership with donors, with athletics, with the city of Lexington, and critical with the private sector. Today’s announcement underscores, once again, how vital these collaborations are to our collective futures, as a campus and as a community.”

About Core Spaces

Core Spaces is a vertically integrated company focused on acquiring, developing, and managing the best real estate in educational markets. Founded in 2010, the Chicago-based company delivered their first project in August 2013 and has since completed 10 projects and 5,781 beds in major collegiate markets including Tempe, Ariz.; Oxford, Miss.; Columbia, S.C.; Tucson, Ariz.; Madison, Wis. (2); Eugene, Ore.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Morgantown, W.V.; and Tuscaloosa, Ala. With a rapid growth plan, Core Spaces will continue to expand into new markets and is slated to have 31 properties and 16,352 beds in their portfolio by the end of 2019. From world-class amenities and progressive design to impeccable client service with a community focus, each Core Spaces property is thoughtfully designed, developed, and managed, creating extraordinary lifestyle experiences that are as unique as their respective cities. Additional information can be found online here: