Lexington Anchor Institution Strategy

U3 Advisors was engaged by the University of Kentucky, Transylvania University, the Bluegrass Community and Technical College System (BCTC) and other partners to develop a Lexington Anchor Institution Strategy. This study identified the challenges and opportunities for each institution and how they can work together to better leverage their impact in Lexington. Using a data driven approach, the study looked at the impact of the institutions’ employees and students on the city and neighborhoods adjacent to their campuses. Overall, the study found that while the anchor institutions had a tremendous impact in the city, there was little coordination across the anchors. In addition, we found that student rental housing was crowding out faculty and staff from living in the neighborhoods adjacent to the University of Kentucky and that commercial corridors were not fully supporting the student population.

U3 Advisors engagement in Lexington included:

  • Analyzing student and faculty residential patterns of all the anchor institutions to determine commuting patterns and identify areas of student housing concentration.
  • Studying the residential rental market around the University of Kentucky and identified a significant increase of student rental properties over a 10-year period.
  • Evaluating commercial corridors to determine adjacencies to student and faculty housing and opportunities for further mixed-use development.
  • Examining institutional policy that was contributing to an increase of off-campus student rental properties in traditionally owner-occupied neighborhoods.

To address many of these issues, U3 Advisors proposed a new place-based and community focused strategy designed to leverage the anchors’ impact more positively at the city and neighborhood levels. Specifically, the plan called for better coordination across anchors, while targeting student housing development to activate commercial corridors and stimulate housing demand for faculty and staff adjacent to the universities.