C+S September 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 9 (web)

Water + Stormwater

FROM BUS REPAIRS TO WATER RECLAIMATION Old Kentucky Building Brings New Uses for Storm Runoff

The 100-year-old former bus garage here is now providing the city with 21st century ecological benefits. The Greyline Station has a re- tention system that gathers rainwater from its five-acre site and holds some of it for reuse. Redeveloped and opened in 2020, the 65,000 square foot complex now has retail spaces, an event venue, restaurants, a public market and even a radio station. The new owner of the former Lextran public bus system’s headquarters and maintenance garage used stormwater best management practices to have a closed cycle for on-site rainfall runoff including collection, treatment, detention, and reuse. Stantec, Inc., the global engineering firm, was given the assignment to improve water quality while reducing the impact of flooding from impervious sur- faces typically found in a city setting. Another important component of the project was to have a continuing program of public education about sustainable stormwater development. With room for new construction at a premium, Lexington saw that the Greyline project could serve as a model for sustainable redevelopment of existing buildings. “Our goal,” explained Samuel Lee, P.E., Stantec’s Lexington, Ken- tucky office lead engineer on the project, “was to remove and retrofit existing impervious surface areas with permeable alternatives such as turf grass and pavers. The system would capture, retain, infiltrate, and recycle rainwater runoff, and have a detention system that would attenuate peak discharges and reduce runoff velocities. The roof run- off flows in a combined leader, treated with baffle “snouts”, and goes into two parallel, 48-inch diameter pipes for underground detention that would supply greywater for mop sinks, toilets and irrigation. The leaders would also tie into an above ground cistern, an aluminum tank which we recycled from an agricultural site. For additional detention and irrigation plus parallel stormwater infiltration, the other BMPs would include a bioretention basin, permeable pavers parking area, and planting strip along North Limestone, adjacent to where Greyline is on West Loudon Avenue.” In December 2021, the project was honored with the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Ken- tucky Chapter’s Engineering Excellence Grand Award, and is eligible for the ACEC’s 2022 National EEA competition. Built in 1928, the building housed Southeastern Greyhound Lines and was Lexington’s largest private employer by the 1940s, and later taken over by Lextran. After being empty for decades, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 to stave off demolition. “This all started from a Neighborhood Association meeting,” explained the building’s owner, visionary and one-man force behind the area’s urban revitalization, Chad Needham of Needham Properties (Lexington,

KY). “Lextran wanted to keep the land, but they didn't want the building. The association, however, decided that we would fight to keep the build- ing and was able to have it designated as a National Historic Landmark.” Needham started renovating old buildings nearly 23 years ago, with his entire focus on the northside area of the city. He now has 40 buildings that range from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet within four blocks of each other. "The Greyline is by far the biggest. It is five acres and has about 100,000 square feet of building space on it. There are four buildings on the site. The old bus garage is the largest and handles all of the roof water collection. It’s kind of a cool building that’s almost a hundred years old and just sat here empty for years. So, I was sitting in this neighborhood meeting thinking: What would be the coolest thing to do with this corner?" "I've been to several public markets. Pike Place Market out in Seattle is fantastic. We have a couple local ones. Columbus has the North Market, and D.C. has the Eastern Market. Could we take this site and do something like that? And I thought a public market would be the coolest neighborhood hub." "But what could be created in a 65,000 square foot building that would be financially viable? And could we engage the neighborhood in doing that? The answer was to create a mixed-use building with affordable retail,” he continued. “Everyone talks about affordable housing, which is very important, but could we do essentially affordable retail and what does that look like? That was the mission I set out on. When you do redevelopment, especially in Lexington, there's some offsetting you have to do. There's stormwater offset, which here has to do with a consent decree with the EPA." “We had a few challenges and hurdles of what to do with this site. It did flood. And we came up with this great way to collect all the roof water and store it to be used as gray water to flush the toilets and for our landscape irrigation. Plus, this really helps the tenants with their water bill which can be about $400 depending on the square footage, compared to probably a thousand dollars. This type of catchment system and reuse benefits all the tenants.”



September 2022

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