The future of the City of Lexington’s redeveloped Depot District just became a little clearer and it is quite exciting! At the City’s August 28th City Council meeting, leaders approved the lease of the former NC Candy Factory building at the corner of East Third Avenue and South Railroad Street. Three developers: Michael Tesh, Dr. George Azar, and Chris Lynn say they plan to eventually purchase the space and use it to draw crowds from in and around Lexington to the area. The building will require substantial renovation by the developers, who indicate they want to partner with the City to use the space for a possible restaurant. The developers also mentioned how the space could be used by local artisans and offer the ability to draw families to the Depot District. The proximity of the space to the Breeden Insurance Amphitheater makes it even more desirable and they see the amphitheater working towards their advantage in generating traffic to their space. They even mentioned having an outside area with tables and chairs and said how the Amphitheater would be the perfect backdrop. Developer Michael Tesh spoke with the City’s Communications Specialist, Kelly Coggins, after the meeting and explained how this moment has been in the making for quite some time. “I was not surprised that the lease agreement was approved. We’ve been looking at the property for the last two years and orchestrating this for the last couple of months. I’m so glad everyone is onboard. We’re excited.” said Tesh.
As far as the next steps for this project, Tesh explained that he and his partners are seeking tax credits. The group plans to do some cleanup of the building and then start the paperwork process. “It’s such a big project, plus it’s a historic district. In the first 60 days, we’ll get the paperwork done and then start on concept drawings. Towards the end of the year, we may start the process to find tenants.” said Tesh.
Tammy Absher, Business and Community Development Director, has been instrumental assisting the developers and expresses her reaction to the lease agreement, “This project will be pivotal in defining the core of the Depot District and fulfilling the community’s vision for this area. The property has drawn interest from a substantial number of developers across the southeast, but I couldn't be more excited to be working with local developers with proven successes. They are vested here, embrace the community’s expectations for quality and creativity, and are committed to collaborating with the City and other partner agencies. I feel confident that the community will love what’s to come.”
To learn more about what is happening in the City, you are encouraged to attend the next City Council meeting. The next meeting is September 11th at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall in Lexington.