Checking in on Capital Plaza redevelopment in Frankfort

Ed Green
P3 Kentucky Editor

Anyone who has been to downtown Frankfort lately has likely seen the progress being made on one of the state’s latest public-private partnerships – the Capital Plaza project.

The new office building will have five stories and be about 385,000 square feet, with an adjoining parking garage and surface facility for more than 1,100 vehicles. 

The Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet announced in Februarythat the building will house more than 1,500 state employees from the Public Protection, Labor, Education & Workforce Development, and Tourism Arts & Heritage cabinets as well as the Commonwealth Office of Technology. These offices currently are located in numerous locations across Frankfort.

Capital Plaza is the sixth build-to-suit project by the state since 2008. It is being constructed by development team led by CRM Development Company of Lexington. Other members of the team include D.W. Wilburn, Inc. (contractor), EOP Architects (architect), Commonwealth Economics Partners(financial consultant to the development team), KeyBanc Capital Markets (underwriter), Huntington National Bank (trustee), and Dinsmore & Shohl (bond counsel).  Frost Brown Toddjoined the team as underwriter’s counsel for the transaction. 

The building replaces the old Capital Plaza Tower, which was imploded a year ago.

Kelly Everman, executive director of Downtown Frankfort Inc., recently called the Capital Plaza Tower demo “a real turning point for Frankfort.” 

Now, the state’s new building is rapidly taking shape and soon 1,500 employees will return downtown,” she added. “City and county governments, partnering organizations and citizens are working together to take steps forward on many of the suggestions in the plan. And, although transformation doesn’t happen overnight, the momentum is clearly building. Just as spring is coming to life, I see our downtown re-energizing and preparing to blossom.”

No firm date has been announced for the completion of Capital Plaza, but the state recently reported construction is months ahead of schedule. Kentucky Today reports that the building could be ready by summer.

Report shares water-sector views on public-private partnerships

P3s can provide potential advantages for municipal utilities

The “To P3 or Not to P3” report was released last week by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Ernst and Young Infrastructure Advisors LLC. This reportexamines the use of public-private partnerships as an alternative delivery model for the continued safe and uninterrupted supply of water and wastewater services around the country.

With rising repair and replacement costs, P3s offer a performance-based delivery model to shift some risks from the public to private-sector partners “best suited to manage them,” the report noted. 

“Survey results show that municipal utilities are well-informed about options for water infrastructure delivery, and they understand the concept of public-private partnerships,” said Tracy Mehan, AWWA’s executive director of government affairs. “They view P3s as a strategy to bring additional resources, skills and project delivery experience to specific subjects, rather than replacing existing services.”

In Kentucky, companies such as Louisville Water Co.have used partnership model to further its mission of providing quality water to the region and beyond. The company is finishing a water main project to assist Shelbyville Water through a groundbreaking regional solution to expanding drinking water.In 2017, the company also began two wholesale partnerships, with Hardin County Water District 1 and Hardin County Water District No. 2.

Is Kentucky Getting Serious About Infrastructure Investments?

By Ed Green
P3KY Editor

With the Kentucky General Assembly in session, there has been a lot more talk and a little action around making significant infrastructure investments in Kentucky. The real question is whether this flurry of activity will turn into real action before the clock runs out in Frankfort.

In recent days, leaders of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce have called for pro-growth policies that drive economic growth.

“Infrastructure — especially roads, bridges and airports — is particularly important to Kentucky’s economy because of the commonwealth’s prime location,” Kentucky Chamber CEO Dave Adkission wrote in a recent op-ed. “As the Cabinet for Economic Development notes, Kentucky sits at the center of a 34-state distribution area in the eastern United States. This facilitates the distribution of goods and materials to a massive industrial and consumer market.”

Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, added these thoughts in his recent opinion piece: “States we are competing with are investing in their infrastructure, making their economies more competitive. You don’t have to go far to see what I mean. Indiana and Tennessee recently increased their investments in infrastructure. Ohio is considering the same right now.”

These business leaders have goals that are aligned – making smart investments that pay off for businesses and taxpayers in Kentucky. And, according to a recent report, there may be no better investment than infrastructure. The Hill reported this week that a nationalBusiness Roundtable study found that that every additional dollar invested in infrastructure delivers roughly $3.70 in additional economic growth over a period of 20 years. That’s the type of growth these business leaders are seeking.

Kentucky had a small victory when HB 517, a bill sponsored by Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Florence, was introduced to inject funding into much-needed road and bridge improvements – investments that have safety and economic development implications. That bill is still being considered by the legislature.

However, infrastructure investment isn’t limited to roads. To remain a Best Place to Liveand do business, Kentucky will have to raise its infrastructure grade from a C-minusby investing in airports (also a great return on investment), drinking water, wastewater and sewers, and energy infrastructure. 

Only time will tell is this upbeat in talk will turn to increased action – and investment in Kentucky’s future. 

P3 Kentucky was created to educate, inspire and connect leaders with resources, so if you have a question about where to go next, please reach out: (502) 544-2917 or

From KY Chamber: Infrastructure Investment is Key to Economic Growth Op-Ed

KY Chamber Pres. Dave Adkisson, NKY Chamber Pres. Brent Cooper, GLI Pres. Kent Oyler, and Commerce Lexington President Bob Quick talk infrastructure.

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American Society of Civil Engineers Gives Kentucky C-

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Five Kentucky Banks Start $125 Million Western KY Infrastructure Fund

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