Parcels B and C

New Frankfort Development LLC has big plans for Parcels B and C, the former Capital Plaza property, if its bid is accepted by the state Finance and Administration Cabinet on Friday.

Hazard-based developer Marty Johnson of New Frankfort Development LLC was the sole bidder for the 12-acre property that includes the site of the demolished Frankfort Convention Center and adjacent Fountain Place Shoppes. The property also includes the land under the YMCA and Capital Plaza Hotel along with an existing state parking garage.

“We certainly hope they approve us,” Johnson said in a phone interview with The State Journal on Monday.

Johnson bid $1,000 on the property with the promise of investing millions.

“We would like to add some housing, maybe a supermarket and a drug store and some restaurants,” Johnson said. “Of course, there are some requirements we’d have to follow like building a parking garage. That will cost $4 to $5 million.”

To bid on the property, developers had to stick to a list of requirements, which includes the Downtown Master Plan’s ideas for a mixed-use residential and commercial development and a state-mandated 300-space parking garage to meet contractual obligations to the Capital Plaza Hotel.

The successful bidder will be asked to make develop the space for retail, residential, cultural, institutional and entertainment uses while improving walkability, according to a previous State Journal report. 

Johnson revealed on Monday he has two partners, but he would not name them, adding he wanted to make sure they were OK with being named before he publicly disclosed their identities. A previous State Journal report lists David Bates, of Lexington, as the registered agent on the business filing for New Frankfort Development LLC. 

If New Frankfort Development LLC’s bid is accepted on Friday, it will take some time before development plans for the land can be finalized, Eric Cockley, director of planning and community development for the City of Frankfort, said via email Monday.

“I would like to reiterate that the public should be aware that once the property is held in private ownership, that a development review will have to be completed through my office just like other development projects,” Cockley wrote. “In this case, development of the property will involve a zone change and development plan review.

“The zone change process is a public process that will go through both the Planning Commission and the City Board of Commissioners for approval.”

Marty Johnson, 62, said he and his wife, Theresa, have been in business together since 1992 when they purchased their first Wendy’s restaurant. Now, the Johnsons own or are part-owners of hundreds of properties across the Southeast, including Applebee’s restaurants across Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio, Hampton Inn in Hazard, Bank of Hindman in Hindman and more.

“We want to do a good job for Frankfort and make something Frankfort and everyone is proud of,” he said.

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