Capital Plaza project about 6 months ahead of schedule

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The Capital Plaza Redevelopment Project, which includes demolition of the Capital Plaza Tower and construction of a replacement, continues to be well ahead of schedule, according to a report presented to the Capital Planning Advisory Board on Tuesday.

Scott Aubrey with the Finance and Administration Cabinet told the panel the final beam is expected to be set by the end of the month. “The building is on schedule to be under roof and closed in by the end of the year and we’re looking at it being substantially complete by this time next year," said Aubrey.

Final completion is anticipated in October 2019, approximately six months ahead of schedule.

When asked by the panel how they are able to make such progress, the Finance Cabinet’s Andy Casebier replied, “The developer, who went through a competition, is the same one we had for the 300 Sower Blvd. building, and they have the same team. That team which worked together to construct a similar building and finished it one month ahead of schedule were able to get further ahead.”

There are financial incentives to complete the project early.

Board Chairman Sen. Stan Humphries, R-Cadiz, expressed concerns about how quickly the Capital Plaza Tower deteriorated and wondered how that could be avoided in the new building.

Casebier explained, “Some of the methodologies they used in building a white tower, caused materials to disintegrate at a more rapid pace. This was just a very problematic building. The magic of build-to-suit is that we’re going to make this developer, for the first 30-years, be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the project. He knows he’ll have to take care of anything that fails in its first 30-years.”

After terms are up the building will revert to the state.

“But even after that, we built into the agreement that we still need warranties on certain items,” Casebier told the panel. “A warranty of at least five years on the roof and chillers.”

The two buildings that house the Cabinet for Health and Family Services also came up for discussion. Casebier said the 43-year old CHR building has issues, “but there is no need to tear it down.”

He said they have four options for it and the older Human Services Building that fronts East Main.

--Renovate both of them

--Renovate the CHR Building while replacing the Human Services Building.

--Take one of the first two options and add a parking structure in front of the Human Services Building.

--Renovate CHR and replace the Human Services Building with a new, smaller facility at the rear of the current parking lot. The benefit of that, according to Casebier, is the Division of Vital Statistics and other agencies that deal with the public could be placed in the smaller building, then beef up security at the CHR Building.

“A study that was performed determined option four is best,” Casebier testified. “It improves energy efficiency and functionality, as well as security. It also allows us to do the work in phases, without a big price tag all at once. It gives us a long-term roadmap to achieve what we want to achieve.”

Renovation of the CHR Building would include a new “skin,” which would be more energy efficient.

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