Major retail development planned for Jessamine County

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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The Jessamine-Fayette County line will soon be home to new restaurants, shops, apartments, a grocery store, a hotel, and possibly, a soccer stadium.

In a recent Nicholasville City Commission meeting, city officials approved the annexation of about 120 acres of land on Lexington Road (U.S. 27), starting at Brannon Road and ending at the Jessamine County line.

Nicholasville Mayor Alex Carter said the public likely know more details about the stores and restaurants in the retail development much later.

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Still, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Wawa has confirmed it is planning a location in this development. The convenience store chain has 950 locations throughout Florida, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C., but its expansion to Kentucky won’t occur until 2025.

Publix is another location mentioned in the Herald-Leader, but this one is a rumor- not a confirmed fact.

Carter said that if you look at successful retail developments, most of them are anchored by a grocer.

A 40,000-square-foot “grocer” was included in the approved final development plan, but there were no details as to who this grocer would be.

“Until we get a permit application, we cannot confirm they are the anchor to this development. However, there is a lot of speculation (Publix) is who the grocer will be in this development,” Carter said.

Carter said that Lexington Sporting Club, a local soccer team, has yet to make an application to the planning commission for approval of the rumored soccer stadium but said that “The city of Nicholasville has had several meetings with the management team for the club over the last several months. They are interested in locating to the Stonedale Development but are still evaluating their stadium location options.”

The primary concern among residents is the prospect of worse traffic on Nicholasville Road.

“The estimated economic impact includes an estimated 1,500 jobs and $224 million capital investment within Nicholasville. This mixed-use development is different from other historical developments. The management staff for these commercial users wants to be near where high traffic volumes and high density of residents already,” Carter said. “The idea is today’s developers are looking to capitalize on the traffic already there and not specifically looking to generate new traffic to the area.”

The city has been working with the state to alleviate any potential concerns, though.

“The city of Nicholasville is working with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the developers to address our residents’ concerns and ensure Lexington Road is a safe corridor to travel,” Carter said.

In fact, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has already been developing a project to improve Brannon Road for years.

Recently, city planning staff and the developer of the upcoming retail development have also been working with KYTC to facilitate traffic and road improvements.

Construction on Brannon Road will start in 2024, according to Carter.

KYTC has also published access management plans for Lexington Road/U.S. 27.

Both of these improvement plans will include bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Although this is a city project, population growth is a county-wide issue.

Judge-Executive Judge David West said he is happy to have the relationship between the county and the cities within it so they can be good planners and “good stewards of the trust that’s placed in us.”

“I grew up when Jessamine County was very small and a two-lane road to Lexington,” West said. “So I romanticize the days of a small town with its own identity and services.”

According to West, Nicholasville has relied on its proximity to Lexington for so many essential services for so long. But, West said this proximity has been a blessing and a curse – because the county didn’t have to develop its own services.

“I don’t think Jessamine County is going to slow down growing anytime in the near future. It’s just a matter of managing that growth to create a great community, to have some essential services spread out all over the county,” West said. “The more people you have, the more places they need to shop, the more places they need to buy clothing, to eat out, to buy groceries, so it’s inevitable as our population increases, that our services have to increase.”