The Peoples Bank Building

The Warwick Foundation led a two-year community effort to move the iconic Peoples Bank building and repurpose it as a Peoples Portal — a public commons dedicated to respect and inclusion. The effort was fueled by an all-volunteer group of architects, lawyers, financiers, bankers, engineers and preservationists (old guard and newly minted) who gave literally thousands of hours of their time to the project, and hundreds of large and small donors throughout the community. The Urban County Government supported the project with funding and a government-owned receiver site on West High Street.

On February 14, 2017, Warwick announced its decision to suspend its management of the project after the moving contractor fell two months behind the critical timeline for crossing Rupp Arena parking areas. Given the contractor’s unreliable performance in the first attempt, the Warwick board determined that it was not prudent to make a second attempt with the same contractor. To replace the funds already paid to the original mover and hire another moving contractor would have increased the budget by up to $500,000. Both Warwick and the Urban County Government concluded this was cost-prohibitive and both groups withdrew from the project.

The Warwick board voted to support an independent moving effort, led by Lucy Jones and Harding Dowell, who explored both non-profit and for-profit options for continuing the project. Updates on their efforts are posted to @PeopleforthePeoples.

Given its risky nature, the Warwick board adopted a refund policy early in the project. Refunds have been issued to the Urban County Government, the Blue Grass Trust, Langley Properties, and others. (The refund policy is available  here.)

All gifts of $1,000 and less were fully refunded, less PayPal fees charged when the gift was made. Merchandise and ticket sales (for events such as the Peoples Portal Pop Up Exhibit and the Peoples Bank Tour), as well as cash donations, were non-refundable. When a donor’s e-mail address was known, refunds were issued via PayPal to that address. PayPal refunds not redeemed within 30 days were forfeited, although Warwick honored any written refund requests received by November 30, 2017.

Several donors — totaling over $29,000 — re-donated their refunds to help Warwick defray project expenses of more than $50,000. All returned funds were used to defray Warwick’s costs of leading the Peoples Bank project and any excess money was used to fund an updated security system at the historic Warwick compound in Mercer County.

Warwick gratefully acknowledges the following donors who waived refunds:

The Josephine Ardery Foundation
Blue Grass Trust
Owsley Brown II Philanthropic Foundation
Laurel Catto
William A. Combs
David Elbon
Susan Harkins & Bill Betz
Crystal Heiss
Debra A. Hensley
Paul Evans Holbrook
Melissa Jurgensen
Jennie K. Leavell
Guy Mendes
Karen & Bill Michul
Gay Reading
Layton Register
Maury Sparrow
Jade Holly Sheldon
Kelly Wittenaur

Donations to Warwick in any amount can be made here.


1. What and where is the Peoples?
The Peoples Bank – a turquoise brick building with a distinctive saw tooth roof – now sits at 343 South Broadway, next to the Rupp District. Built in 1962, the Peoples has been called “the most refined mid-century modern building in Lexington.” The Peoples is now owned by Langley Properties, a Lexington-based commercial property developer that has been working closely with us to preserve the building.

2. Why can’t the Peoples Bank building stay where it is?
The land underneath the Peoples building will be repurposed as a second entrance to the neighboring parking garage and to add parking spaces, all in support of a new 12-screen Krikorian Cineplex. Langley Properties gave Warwick an extended opportunity to move the building off its present site and pledged to donate the building if it could be successfully moved. It also contributed $75,000 toward the cost of the relocation.

3. Where could the Peoples Bank building go?
The Lexington Center Corporation – a part of the Urban County Government – approved a detailed relocation plan and 99-year ground lease for 0.8 acres of its main parking area. The receiver site is at the corner of Patterson and West High Streets, across the street from Rupp Arena and the new Convention Center site. The relocation plan required the building to be moved clear of Rupp Arena parking areas by September 9, 2016 following a three-month renovation period when the arena was dark and parking needs were limited.

4. Why wasn’t the building moved as planned in 2016?
Atlanta-based JRLJ Enterprises – also known as Hercules House Movers – contracted to move the building by September 9, 2016 but fell almost two months behind in its three-month performance schedule. By the September 9 deadline the building had not been lifted or begun its move across the Rupp Arena parking lot. Work was suspended on September 10, 2016, when Rupp Arena’s busy event and basketball schedules resumed.

5. How much would it cost to move the Peoples?
The cost of moving the building, preparing the receiver site, and restoring the building was originally estimated at $850,000, but the budget grew to $1.3 million after detailed project bids were received. Moving the building is expensive because the old site must be excavated to place a steel beam structure under the building to stabilize it for moving and the new site must be excavated for a new foundation to support the building. The glass systems and concrete floor had to be removed before lifting the building and they would have to be replaced following the move. Heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing systems must be created at the new site. Once on the receiver site, the building must be restored for operations and equipped for active operations.

6. How much money was raised and where did funding come from?
All totaled, $1.3 million was raised for the project: almost $900,000 in collected cash, $300,000 in pledged contributions and $100,000 from local businesses in-kind. The Warwick Foundation initially committed $300,000 to the project then doubled that amount in a second round of financing in early 2016. The Urban County Government initially committed $150,000, then doubled that amount with a second appropriation in May of 2016. Fueled by a robust crowd funding effort, a public matching funds campaign raised $260,000. The Lexington Center Corporation and Langley Properties have each agreed to contribute $75,000. In-kind donors gave or pledged an additional $100,000. Traditional Bank pledged to purchase $100,000 in state tax credits that would be generated by the project.

7. What was Warwick’s vision for the building after the planned move?
The Warwick Foundation planned to operate the building as a public point of entry — a Peoples Portal — to the Rupp District. The building would function as a public commons and living monument to the international Charter for Compassion. It was to have been a compelling expression of Warwick’s mission to promote cross-cultural understanding and a timely civic landmark celebrating the values of respect and inclusion. Warwick would have been responsible for all operating and programming costs and income would be generated by event rentals (like weddings and corporate receptions), non-profit desk rentals (at nominal rates), crowd-funding events, and modest programming revenue (like ticket sales).

8. I’m a donor to the project; how do I request a refund of my gift?
Warwick was aware from the outset that the project was very risky and might not be completed successfully for any number of reasons. The Warwick board adopted a refund policy to address this possibility. You can read the refund policy here. You may request a refund by e-mailing

9. What programs will be the focus of Warwick’s future work?
The Peoples Portal has been the focus of the foundation’s recent work. However, 2017 marks the centennial of Warwick’s founder, Clay Lancaster, a remarkable scholar and author. Three special programs are planned for this year. The foundation’s board is also taking a fresh look at ways to more fully utilize the Warwick’s 300-acre compound on the Kentucky River, in Mercer County. We encourage you to connect with us at or @TheWarwickFoundation.

Refund Policy for the Peoples Portal

Purpose: Establishes a refund policy for large donors to the Peoples Bank project if, for any reason, the building is not successfully placed on its new foundation for any reason after the moving contract has been signed. If, for any reason, the moving contract is not signed then all donations will be refunded in full.

Use of Funds: The Warwick Foundation will dedicate your generous gift to the relocation, restoration, and renovation of the Peoples Bank, c. 1962. Warwick is a 501(c)(3) exempt operating foundation and your gift will be acknowledged by Warwick for your tax records. A newly formed company, Peoples Portal, LLLP, will own the Peoples Bank building and carry out the relocation, restoration, and renovation work, using funds loaned by the Warwick Foundation. Warwick Management, LLC – which is 100% owned by the Warwick Foundation – will be the General Partner of Peoples Portal and manager of the work.

Refund policy: Peoples gifts will be kept in a separate project account. If the project cannot continue, for any reason then, after paying all outstanding obligations, Peoples Portal will use the remaining balance in the project account and Warwick will issue refunds from that amount as follows:

• Small donors ($1,000 and under) and The Blue Grass Trust grant will be refunded in full. These amounts (approximately $70,000 to date) will be refunded, first from Warwick’s $50,000 contribution to the project and other non-refundable gifts (i.e., ticket and merchandise sales, cabin rental, other non-refundable gifts), and thereafter from the project fund balance. Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Warwick Foundation and Blue Grass Trust, any refund paid to the Blue Grass Trust will be paid over in full to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government for an inventory resource survey.

• All other donors will receive pro rata distribution of the remaining balance of the project account. It is likely that the amount refunded will be less than the amount of the gift. If any insurance proceeds are paid to Peoples Portal, then donors will also receive their pro rata shares of those amounts promptly after receipt from the insurance company.

The Warwick Foundation | P.O. Box 1183 | Lexington, KY 40588 | Phone: 859 865-4225 | E-mail:

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