Applause briefly blotted out the grumble of construction noise Tuesday, as officials and workers celebrated the hoisting of the final beam at the site of the new state office building downtown.
“It’s hard to believe the Capital Plaza Tower was imploded March 11 and look where you stand today,” developer Craig Turner, founder and CEO of CRM Companies, said to the dozens gathered on the ground floor of the new structure.
The project, which is on pace to be completed six months ahead of schedule and within budget, should be under roof and closed in by the end of the year.
Construction on the parking structure will begin in November and should conclude in January, said Turner, whose company also built the state office building at 300 Sower Blvd. with the same team and finished a month ahead of schedule.
“We are excited to once again put our fingerprint on Frankfort,” Turner said, adding that it may even be completed in the spring, as opposed to a year from now.
Gov. Matt Bevin, who kept his remarks brief, said the steel, of which the building is constructed, was not supposed to arrive until the beginning of September and that the early completion of the building would save the state millions.
“Every dollar we save is money we can pour into the community,” he said.
In addition to the workers and other dignitaries, Turner and Bevin, Commissioner of the Department for Facilities and Support Services Mike Burnside, Frankfort Mayor Bill May and Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells added their names and the date to the painted-white beam before it was lifted into the air to be fitted into the top-left corner of the structure.
“We should be asking ourselves, ‘How can we truly make Kentucky the best version of ourselves?’” Bevin said. “We should be making it better and better as we go.”
The final beam bore flags and a small evergreen tree, a Scandinavian practice known as “topping out” — meant to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced during construction. The tradition migrated to the United States, where it is common practice among skyscraper construction crews.
Two crew members secured the beam into position, with attached flags blowing in the brisk breeze.
“We are changing the look of Frankfort and all of state government,” Burnside said, thanking May and Wells for their support. “Frankfort will have new investment and growth opportunities for a time to come.”