1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania makes affordable housing development possible

baseball field

Local banks and developers unite for visionary project

Transylvania University’s Marquard Field complex, home to the Pioneer baseball program for 20 years, will soon be the new home to a 12.5-acre affordable housing development.

A consortium of local banks has created a joint entity to purchase the land along Radcliffe Road and Haggard Lane from the university. Local affordable housing developers will build a combination of housing types on the property.

“As Pioneers, our centuries-long commitment to achieving excellence has been guided by these core values: integrity, innovation, diversity, community and perseverance,” said President Brien Lewis. “We are proud of the role Transylvania plays as a part of the Lexington community and how this project gives us the opportunity to be part of a visionary solution.”

Watch today’s press conference:

How it works

The banking group — currently including Central Bank, Community Trust Bank, Republic Bank & Trust, Stock Yards Bank and Traditional Bank — has established a $3 million revolving capital fund to support affordable housing development. As the project gets underway, developers repay the fund interest free, allowing for reinvestment in future affordable housing projects.

Transylvania considered multiple offers for the Marquard Field property but opted to sell the site to the mission-driven group for the reduced price of $2.8 million, making the initial development possible.

“We are proud that this group of private entities from business, education and nonprofit sectors have come together to address a real need in our community,” said Luther Deaton, chairman/president and CEO of Central Bank & Trust Co. “We believe the model that we have created can and should be replicated in communities across the country.”

Lexington affordable housing developers collaborating on the project include AU Associates, Habitat for Humanity, Urban League of Lexington and Winterwood. They worked together with Commerce Lexington, Lexington for Everyone and the Building Industry Association of Central Kentucky to put a development plan in place. 

“A collaboration that makes affordable housing projects easier to undertake in this market is a true game changer,” said Johan Graham, development director at AU Associates. “As a Transylvania alumnus, I’m proud but not surprised that Transy came to the table with a vision to make Lexington better.”

What comes next

The sale is anticipated to close later this year, with a groundbreaking planned for summer 2025 following community meetings, master planning, rezoning and solidifying public-private partnership opportunities.

The final development will include a combination of housing types, including both rental and owned properties, for families earning 30 to 80 percent of the area’s median income.

“The Marquard project demonstrates the importance of partnerships for developing affordable home ownership at scale,” said Lexington Habitat for Humanity CEO Darryl Neher. “We look forward to working with more community partners to deliver on the promise of stability and hope that housing affordability offers to many of our Lexington neighbors.”

Opened in time for the 1999-2000 baseball season, the then state-of-the art William A. Marquard Field served as the Pioneers home field for 20 years. In October 2019, Transylvania announced plans to move the team to the home of Lexington’s minor league baseball team. The Pioneers continue to play at that stadium located on North Broadway, making the sale of Marquard possible.

President Lewis answered questions from the press today in Transylvania’s Campus Center. Check out the Herald-Leader story.