Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lexington Mall, Is Something Happening?

Last night, WKYT (channel 27) led off the late news with a story that was supposed to detail the latest in the chain of events relating to Lexington Mall. Their implication was that something was afoot.

The TV station had this to say about the abandoned mall.
In a statement given to 27 Newsfirst, a spokesperson for Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry says, "We are aware that there have been serious conversations between private interests and Saul Centers Properties, which owns the site. But we have not been advised as to what plans those private interests might have for the property."
Now, while I was aware of a scheduled mayoral forum for last night, I assumed that this was released in that venue. No other news outlet had anything to say about it and WKYT only had a statement form a spokesperson. Next I realized that the interviews with neighbors was done earlier in the day, so this was somewhat like a press release. Still nobody else said a word. Could this be manufactured news? At the end of the piece, the reporter summed it up with the fact that really nothing has changed and the neighbors are just as baffled and upset as they have been.

This morning they had a repeat of the story and added nothing, but the anchor crew kept emphasizing that the word came from Mayor NEWBERRY"S office. Not the administration, or the mayor's office, but Mayor NEWBERRY"S office. I began to think that this could be a subtle hint of an endorsement for the incumbent and a way to get some more talking points into Mr Gray's stump speeches. Still, no other news was talking about it. So, is this just somebody blowing smoke, ala the campaign of 4 years ago?

Simply checking the Saul Centers website showed that they have just this one property in Kentucky and it is being advertised for sale, although the page has not been updated since last July. Lexington is a far piece from the rest of their holdings and the commercial real estate market has seen better days, but Business Lexington today has an article that Lexington is faring better than the rest of the country.

Lastly, rumor has it that the statement is very true. Read what it says carefully. "Serious conversations" (plural) and "private interests" (again plural) and "Saul Centers Properties" (surprisingly singular). I'm guessing that there is more than one interested party. The rumor also goes that a deal is close, as close as settling on final price and the method of financing. Should this occur during the run-up to the primary it would put a nice feather in Newberry's hat in the ring.
"But we have not been advised as to what plans those private interests might have for the property."
Of course not. Just having an idea who the interested parties will indicate what their plans will consist of. We do know that they are not any tax supported entity like the city or a state agency.

I guess time will tell.

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