Frankfort's tallest building to be demolished later this year - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Frankfort's tallest building to be demolished later this year

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The tallest building in Frankfort is about to become rubble.

It is 28 stories tall and has towered over Frankfort since 1972. But the state says the Capital Plaza Tower is too expensive to maintain, so the building and almost everything around it are coming down.

One of those around it is Earnie Baker, who has cut hair in the shadow of the Capitol Plaza Tower since the mid 1970s. His customers have included several governors.

“This used to be the main place in Frankfort to come,” Baker said;

But Baker learned on Tuesday that he'll have to move. When the Capital Plaza Tower comes down, so will the adjacent Fountain Place Shopping Center.

“We have to be out by Sept. 29,” he said.

At one time, the tower housed hundreds of state employees. But over the years it has fallen into disrepair.

The last state office left the building last fall. Now, the state is looking for a contractor to tear it down.

“It's in such bad disrepair that to renovate it would not make any financial sense,” Frankfort Mayor William May said.

May says he is glad the state plans to build a new, modern, five-story office complex that will bring hundreds of state jobs back to downtown, but the demolition also includes the nearby Frankfort Convention Center.

“That's the thing that is a little bit disconcerting,” May said.

The Finance and Administration Cabinet says it would cost $18.9 million to bring the Convention Center up to code and $34.5 million to renovate and expand it.

May hopes to work with the county and the state to eventually build a new venue for performing arts, sports and large meetings.

State officials will not say how much it might cost to tear down the old office tower and the build the new.

Pamela Trautner, spokesperson for the Finance and Administration Cabinet, said the state wants to enter into a “build-to-suit” arrangement with a private developer. Under such agreements, the developer pays for the cost and demolition and construction and then leases the property back to the state. At the end of the lease term, ownership of the property reverts back to the state.

Baker says he hates to leave the area, but has no plans to retire.

“I guess I'll try to find somewhere else,” he said.

The nearby Capital Plaza hotel and the YMCA building will be spared.

The state is soliciting bids for the project. They must be submitted before 10:30 a.m. on May 31.

Demolition is expected to begin Nov. 1, with construction on the office complex to star early in 2018.

Additional information is available here.

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