The residential units that were envisioned as part of the commercial wrap around the parking garage adjacent to the Bowling Green Ballpark are a step closer.
A tentative agreement has been reached with WKU Development IIC to build 48 apartments on the College Street side of the wrap at a cost of $6.5 million. The agreement was approved last week by the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority and is expected to go before Bowling Green City Commission next week.
The limited liability corporation was formed for this project by a Columbia, Mo., development firm, Trittenbach Development. Trittenbach also is working on plans for student housing adjacent to Western Kentucky University, within the Tax Increment Financing District.
“Our study said if we built SKyPAC and the ballpark, other development would come,” WCEDA board member Mary Cohron said.
Board Chairman Doug Gorman said plans are still being finalized for the apartments that would be on five floors, but he expects that construction would begin in the spring.
“We’ve waited a long time to be able to say that,” board member John Kelly said in response to Cohron’s comment.
Gorman said he is excited about the prospects for the project that will have its own financing in place.
The apartments will be for rent, not for sale as condominiums are, and will be geared toward young professionals. A potential base of interest is expected to come from the building’s two largest tenants, HitCents and Connected Nation, which is expected to move in Monday.
Connected Nation Chairman Brian Mefford was excited to learn that the apartments would be constructed.
“We would expect that some of our folks would be interested in them,” Mefford said.
Connected Nation will have about 50 employees in the building.
HitCents founders Chris and Clinton Mills have repeatedly talked about the importance of creating a livable vibe downtown as a way to attract and retain high caliber employees. The Mills family is developing the remainder of the wrap that will include restaurants and a banquet space that they will own. They are leasing office spaces on other floors. Alliance Corp.’s David Butler said construction of the restaurant space is coming along quickly.
He is hoping to get the concrete planters poured for the outdoor space of the restaurants before winter.
As for Trittenbach’s plans for the five acres next to WKU, the company’s attorney Kevin Brooks said they are still working on their formal design plans and will need approval for a detailed development plan before getting a building permit. Zoning for the property between East 13th, Kentucky and Center streets was approved in July. Up to 450 students could live in the development if fully built.
“They talked to their lenders this week,” Brooks said. “I don’t really know their timetable but I’m guessing early spring.”
Because Trittenbach has its own construction company, Brooks expects that they will work on both projects at the same time.
“They are looking seriously at a variety of things in Bowling Green,” he said. “Precisely what drew them to Bowling Green, I don’t know. Generally, they have seen a successful town to campus development in Columbia and were looking for a college town to do something similar. They really liked what they saw in Bowling Green.”