LEXINGTON N.C. — Creating a destination in the Lexington Depot District is a vision from city leaders and a team of developers.
“Over the past few years, the revitalization of Lexington downtown has come to life,” said Josh Tackett, who’s a managing partner at The District Group.
Tackett is helping turn a vacant building at 200 South Railroad Street into the new Railroad Street Market. It will consist of a restaurant, bar, and possibly a distillery. It’ll join two existing businesses in the area, Goose and the Monkey Brew House and Bull City Ciderworks.
“We’ve grown a lot over the last few years,” Tackett said. “We hit a speed bump this year.”
The coronavirus pandemic is pausing Tackett’s efforts until summer 2021 when he hopes to break ground. He plans to open Railroad Street Market in early 2023. Lexington Mayor Newall Clark and the city council signed off on their vision and timeline on Monday.
“It’s no longer an ‘if’ project,” Clark said. “It is now ‘when’ and we’re excited about that.”
In 2017 a fire wiped out 30 percent of the buildings on the 18-acre Lexington Home Brands plant grounds.
“It was really kind of the turning of the page,” Clark said. “It was a new chapter and we were able to go in that new direction.”
The future plans for the site keep the history of the area alive.
“We really do want to keep that integrity of what it used to be and bring those elements into the new construction of it,” Tackett said.
A passenger rail station is scheduled to open on the site by 2030. It will connect Lexington to all over the East Coast.
“We would love to have an area where we could bring in people outside Greensboro, Durham, Charlotte, Raleigh,” Tackett said. “With the opportunity we’re presenting hopefully we can bring new jobs to the area and a lot of growth financially.”
New businesses and visitors mean more money for the Lexington economy.
“It goes back into the tax books,” Clark said. “That’s dollars that go back into the community that can help with street improvements, police, parks, all of those things.”
The Lexington City Council also approved plans for Green Works of Lexington to construct an innovation center where the Lexington Home Brands showroom is located. The new facility will focus on plant science research along with processing hops and industrial hemp.