With two pieces of prime property officially on the market, Frankfort — with a positive push by the state — is inching closer to getting the public real estate into private hands and back on the city and county tax rolls, which, according to Finance and Administration Secretary William Landrum III, has been the goal all along.
On Wednesday, the state announced it is seeking bids for Parcels B and C — the 11.8 acres of Capital Plaza land including the YMCA, the site of the former Frankfort Convention Center, a parking garage and the land beneath the Capital Plaza Hotel — from private developers who will honor the community's vision for the property.
While we knew this news was coming, we were pleased to find out that the bids submitted to the Finance and Administration Cabinet must be compatible with the Downtown Master Plan and its recommendations for the convention center site. According to a press release, prospective bidders must consider the community’s desire for a mixed-use development that incorporates commercial, retail, parking, residential, institutional or entertainment uses and is pedestrian-friendly.
According to the request for bid (RFB), purchasers are required to meet with the City of Frankfort’s Planning and Development Department to address whether the project would merit an Urban Mixed-Use District zoning designation.
But the state’s pleasantries don’t end there. The terms of the RFB also dictate that a representative from both the city and county along with Finance Cabinet officials will form a team to review all submissions for compliance. Like Mayor Bill May and Judge-Executive Huston Wells, we were overjoyed to hear that both local governments will be part of the vetting process.
Perhaps happiest of all is Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Houston Barber, whose district could see an additional $250,000 to $1 million in annual tax revenue from the property, which is currently tax-exempt, when it goes into the private sector.
While not something it was required to do for state-owned land, we commend the Finance and Administration Cabinet for allowing Frankfort's voice to be heard by adhering to the Master Plan and agreeing to local representation on the review committee.