• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Holiday Inn Express coming to Versailles

THE SITE of the old Versailles Center on the U.S. 60 Bypass at Lexington Road will be the site for a Holiday Inn Express. This photo was taken from the fifth floor of the United Bank building in September 1999, shortly after the property was acquired by Rubloff Development Group. After a decade and a half of neglect, the buildings were declared a "blighted" property and razed by the City of Versailles in 2014, the cost of which was recouped with interest. (File photo by Stephen Peterson)

Efforts to bring a hotel to Versailles are "moving toward the final stages of becoming a reality," according to Eli Mashni, of Versailles Land Group. Versailles Land Group owns the 10-acre site on the U.S. 60 Bypass at Lexington Road where a Holiday Inn Express will be built. "We feel like the Holiday Inn is the perfect fit for Woodford County and Versailles," said Mashni. H&W Management Company in Lexington will operate the 80-room hotel as a franchisee after purchasing a three-acre lot from Versailles Land Group. "They're a great operator with a regional and local presence . and they're excited about Versailles, and are making a really big investment in Versailles," Masni said. If all goes as anticipated, H&W Management Company will begin construction on its hotel in the fall with an opening in late summer 2017, according to H&W partner Don Howard. He said the proximity of Versailles to "demand generators," including Keeneland and the KCTCS headquarters, made the location financially feasible for a small hotel. Mashni said Versailles Land Group hopes to attract national and regional restaurants to other commercial lots on the site, formerly occupied by Versailles Center - a shopping center with tenants including the Versailles Flea Market and Sweet Potatoes restaurant. "I'm extremely excited about (a hotel coming to Versailles). I think it's long overdue," said Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott. ".The development of that property is also long overdue." He described the in-fill project as an opportunity to provide hotel rooms for out-of-towners coming to Versailles for this past weekend's soccer tournament and other activities in the community. "So this is going to be a boon for small business owners," he explained. ".Picture what that property's going to look like in two years," added Traugott, ".it's going to be night and day difference" from when a dilapidated shopping center was there. It was razed by the City of Versailles in February 2014 after years of neglect. During its review of preliminary plat creating six lots on the former Versailles Center property on Tuesday morning, the Technical Review Committee (TRC) raised questions about traffic flow. Brad Boaz, a landscape architect representing Versailles Land Group, said ideally the developer would like to have two-way traffic on United Drive in front of McDonald's and United Bank. Public Works Director Bart Miller said the City of Versailles wants that stretch of road to remain one way. Other reviews TRC reviewed construction plans that will allow NARO Properties to construct a detention basin to mitigate storm water runoff issues in the Cedar Ridge subdivision, where flooding has occurred in the basements of some homes. When letters of approval are received from engineers for the City of Versailles and Woodford County government, a grading permit can be issued and construction of the basin can begin. A homeowners' association will be handling the basin's maintenance, according to an engineer representing NARO. A minor plat subdividing a farm at the corner of Paynes Mill Road and Pisgah Pike into two parcels - 93 acres at 2936 Paynes Mill Road/Pisgah Pike and 71.156 acres at 2750 Paynes Mill Road (Tavner Dunlap and Sarah Dunlap) - was forwarded to the Planning Commission's chair for approval.

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