The Lafayette Hotel was located at the corner of East Main Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Constructed in the 1920s,7 the Lafayette Hotel closed to guests in 1963. It was purchased by the Lexington-Fayette County Government in 1982 and renovated into government offices in 1984.7
Planning for the new Lexington-Fayette County Government Center began shortly after Mayor Jim Newberry took office in 2006.2 Noting that the former Lafayette Hotel was less than efficient to conduct business, adding the mounting maintenance issues which were deferred for years.
A downtown facility master plan, completed on May 6, 2008, recommended a $47.6 million, eight-story Urban County Government Center to be built at the site of the Government Center annex, the annex garage, police headquarters and Phoenix garage.6 It also recommended that the police headquarters move outside of downtown. The county clerk’s office, currently located in the Government Center Annex, would move to leased space somewhere along New Circle Road for five years. Five scenarios were presented,
Newberry pressed for a new facility at a June 24 council meeting.4 On August 27, the Urban County Council recommended that a new structure was needed.3
The Council hired a consultant who recommended that the most cost-effective solution would be to construct a new city hall by demolishing two deteriorating city-owned buildings and parking garages.2 It would cost $47.6 million.4 Other alternatives were considered, including a site outside of downtown or at the former Lexington Mall.3 A “do nothing” option would cost $29.4 million, targeted at maintenance of the existing facility.4
A downtown facilities master plan completed by FM Solutions stated that a new city hall would be ideal if constructed at the current site of the Government Center Annex, which contains the deteriorating annex parking garage, police headquarters and the Phoenix garage.1 The annex garage and police station are circa 1965 and have been noted for its structural integrity.5
On September 8, 2008, the Urban County Council tentatively approved hiring FM Solutions to draft a request for proposal that included a location study and specifications to begin the design phase, and to request comments from the public.1 It still required two council readings for final approval. The Council also agreed to appoint a task force to work with FM Solutions.
Kinzelman Kline Gossman stated that the design of the new government center should incorporate the principles of the city’s downtown master plan, including incorporating first-floor retail and interactivity with the streetscape.1 The latter included a connection to the proposed Vine Street linear park project.
In mid-March 2009, the city issued a request for proposals from firms that want to oversee the search process for a new city hall.7 The consultant would lead the search and conduct a space utilization study, and if the city moves from that point, the consultant would also design the building and oversee construction.