Lexington, KY - KDC, a Dallas-based commercial real estate firm, has entered into the marketing stage for development of a 250,000-square-foot corporate center on 38 acres of the University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Campus.
The first phase of the planned project would include a three-story, 100,000-square-foot building aimed to attract regional and national corporate offices. The facility would be located on a lot adjacent to the recently built Tempur-Pedic headquarters.
“We have just begun our marketing efforts and will start construction once we have pre-leased at least 50 percent of the building,” said Jeffrey Stidham, KDC vice president and partner.
KDC, which is working under a sub-contract with Sperry Van Ness Real Estate Advisors, plans to seek LEED certification on the proposed building. The facility, which will incorporate features such as raised access flooring for electrical, phone and data cables and individual workstation HVAC controls for temperature adjustment, is based on a sustainable and energy-efficient design that KDC has employed in other cities across the country.
Stidham said Coldstream is a venue well-suited for both public and private sector corporate offices in a variety of fields, including education, medical enterprises, research and development and more.
“Coldstream is one of the most impressive professional research and office campuses in the country and provides a beautiful setting for corporate offices,” Stidham said. “As the economy continues to recover, demand for office space is on the rise and there is a limited supply of quality space in Lexington.”
More than 60 companies are currently located at Coldstream. The proposed corporate center would be the latest in a series of significant developments on Coldstream’s 735-acre campus, including the opening of Tempur-Pedic’s global headquarters in February and Bingham McCutchen’s global services center in April. The $129 million, 239-bed Eastern State Hospital facility is scheduled to open at Coldstream in August and will bring the total number of employees on the research campus to about 2,100, said George Ward, Coldstream’s executive director. That represents roughly double the employee base that Coldstream had a year ago, Ward said.
According to Ward, the opening of Eastern State Hospital, which will be operated by UK HealthCare, will also increase UK’s presence on the research campus to roughly 36 percent of the total developed square footage. This represents a more typical ratio for a university research park than Coldstream has experienced in the past, Ward said.
“That will attract people who want to be closer to UK,” Ward said. “It may, over a number of years, attract more UK facilities out here as well.”
With the eventual completion of the Newtown Pike extension to UK’s campus, Ward sees the formation of what he describes as Lexington’s “high-tech and higher-education corridor,” connecting Coldstream to the new Newtown Pike campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Transylvania University, a growing downtown entrepreneurial community and the University of Kentucky.
While Coldstream’s plan for a mixed-use “lifestyle” town center on the campus has taken a backseat for the last two years, Ward expects that increasing activity at Coldstream and the improving economy will spark new interest among retail-oriented developers.
“It’s been a little over a year now that commercial real estate activity in Lexington has been buzzing a little bit more,” Ward said.
But beyond Lexington, Ward sees the KDC project as an added boost for Coldstream’s national exposure, pointing out that the last three large employers that have located at Coldstream — AllConnect, Tempur-Pedic and Bingham McCutchen — have been advised by site-selection consultants based outside of Kentucky.