Category Archives: News

President Of AU Associates, Inc. Holly Wiedemann Inducted into Junior Achievement’s Bluegrass Business Hall Of Fame

2016 Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame

Inductees Announced


On Thursday evening, May 26th, 2016 the following individuals will be inducted into Junior Achievement’s Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame:  William Stamps Farish III, DeWitt T. Hisle and Holly B. Wiedemann. 
Holly Hall Of fame
Since 1989, Junior Achievement’s Bluegrass  Business Hall of Fame has annually recognized the esteemed leaders of the Central Kentucky business community.  To be considered as a Hall of Fame member, an individual’s record of business achievement must demonstrate:Courageous thinking and actions; vision and innovation; business excellence; inspiring leadership; and community mindedness. In addition, nominees must serve as a role model for our youth.  Stated more simply, Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame members are individuals whose work has moved the Central Kentucky in a better, stronger position. Join us in celebrating these laureates whose leadership has made the Bluegrass community such a special place to live and work.  Your generous contribution will help underwrite this wonderful evening and enable us to honor these individuals in a special way.  Corporate and individual sponsorship of this event is a major contribution to our success and reinforces to the community your belief in the importance and mission of Junior Achievement.  Thank you for your consideration of our request and for your continuing support.  


“Empower a Student to Own Their Future Economic Success”
Our thanks to the following companies that are participating as Silver Sponsors for the 2016 event:
Forcht Bank Logo
For information regarding 2016 sponsorship opportunities, please click below for more information or email Lynn Hudgins, or Sheila Vaughn,, at the Junior Achievement office, 219-2423.
Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass
859-219-2423 PHONE
1-877-396-2101 FAX



Versailles School Apartments Project

Former school being turned into apartment building

Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff | February 10, 2016

Efforts to transform a former school building into a 13-unit apartment building have begun, and should be finished by Thanksgiving, according to a spokesperson for AU Associates, Inc.

“From the street view, it will look very much like a school still,” explained Johan Graham, director of development for AU Associates. “There won’t be many noticeable differences on the exterior.”

On the interior, classrooms are being turned into modern apartments, with one-, two- or three bedrooms, he said. The affordable housing units will include washer/dryer hookups and kitchen appliances.

Before tenants move into Versailles School Apartments, people in the community will have an opportunity to see inside the building and celebrate a private-public partnership that led to the historic school being preserved for an adaptive reuse.

The Woodford County Board of Education sold the aging school building at 299 South Main Street in Versailles (most recently occupied by the Community Education Center) to AU Associates last year for $74,000.

Low-income housing tax credits sold to investors, coupled with federal and state historic tax credits are funding construction costs of about $2.7 million, Graham said.

Construction on Versailles School Apartments began about a month ago and workers are currently removing old partitions, floors and mechanical systems, Graham said.

“Most of those ugly, modern details on the inside are coming on out,” he said. “So the (building) shell’s in great shape. The historic (architectural) details and wood are in great shape too. So once you kind of strip it down to its base elements, it’s actually a pretty sturdy structure.”

He said construction workers should begin framing the apartment units in six to eight weeks. The installation of mechanical systems will happen next, he added.

After transforming this former Versailles school into an apartment building, AU Associates will manage and own Versailles School Apartments, Graham said. “It’s sort of like Midway (School Apartments). We’ve been there for 18 years,” he said.
Founded by Holly Wiedemann in 1990, AU Associates has created more than 350 units of mixed income housing, 100,000 square-feet of commercial space and over $50 million in projects across Kentucky and West Virginia, according to the nonprofit company’s website.

Contact: Johan Graham
Telephone: 859-233-2009

Read more:!Former-school-being-turned-into-apartment-building/cjds/56bbe8fe0cf2062bd41ea78b

Tom Eblen: Lexington developer turns Campton’s old school into affordable housing

FEBRUARY 14, 2016
The old Wolfe County High School, built by the WPA from 1937-42 using local sandstone, sat vacant for a decade and was damaged by a 2012 hail storm and vandals two years later. It has now been restored by Lexington affordable-housing developer Holly Wiedemann as the Campton School Apartments. Tom Eblen

The beloved Wolfe County landmark sat empty for a decade atop a hill overlooking town, slowly falling apart before everyone’s eyes.

Baseball-size hail broke windows and damaged the roof in March 2012, the same night a tornado destroyed much of nearby West Liberty. Two years later, teenaged vandals broke into the school and went on a rampage.

“If you hadn’t come along when you did, we would have lost this place,” J.C. Brooks told Lexington developer Holly Wiedemann as we walked through the former Wolfe County High School earlier this month.

The imposing three-story structure, built during the Great Depression from locally quarried sandstone, reopened Jan. 15 as the Campton School Apartments after Wiedemann organized a $3.9 million renovation.

The building now houses 13 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom apartments for adults 55 and older. Sixteen units have monthly rents of between $330 and $575 for low-income residents. One of the building’s first residents was once a teacher at the school; a former librarian has signed a lease for another unit.

“People are just in awe,” said Brooks, noting that more than 200 people filled the school’s old gymnasium for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “They can’t believe how beautiful it looks.

J.C. Brooks, right, showed Holly Wiedemann his class photo from 1961. Old school photos were used to decorate the building's halls.

J.C. Brooks, right, showed Holly Wiedemann his class photo from 1961. Old school photos were used to decorate the building’s halls. Tom Eblen

The renovation preserved most of the original hardwood floors; replaced windows with new, energy-efficient ones; replicated old five-panel doors and light fixtures and decorated hallways with original art and copies of old school photographs.

Brooks is a 1961 graduate of the school, and his grandfather helped cut stone for its construction. He and his brother, Wolfe County Judge-Executive Dennis Brooks, led a community effort to recruit Wiedemann to take on the renovation.

Wiedemann is president of AU Associates, which over the past 25 years has completed 28 projects in Kentucky and West Virginia to renovate beloved old buildings for new, economically viable uses.

The company has overseen $120 million worth of work that included more than 500 units of affordable housing — mostly apartments for seniors in small-town former school buildings — and more than 140,000 square feet of commercial space, Wiedemann said.

AU Associates’ projects involve a lot of community participation and a complex mix of state and federal tax credits for affordable housing and historic preservation, as well as grants, loans and private equity.

Wiedemann, whose ancestors started Wiedemann beer and Lexington’s old Purcell’s department store, said her business is rewarding, if not hugely profitable. But it is an economic model that works. AU Associates employs 30 people, including 15 who maintain and manage the 23 properties the company owns.

“We’ve never done any marketing; people just call us because they know I’m a sucker for old buildings,” Wiedemann said. “And we have done so many of these that we have figured out what works.”

AU Associates’ first project was the Midway School Apartments in Midway. Lexington projects include the First Presbyterian Church Apartments on Market Street and Parkside, an affordable-housing development built on the site of the old YWCA in Gardenside. AU Associates also is project manager for the old Fayette County Courthouse renovation.

Campton’s school was built between 1937 and 1942 as a federal Works Progress Administration project to provide public high school education in Wolfe County, which previously had only church-supported secondary schools.

The building was replaced by a new high school in 1968, but continued as an elementary and middle school until 1991, then as an elementary school until it was decommissioned in 2005.

About the time it became vacant, Wiedemann said she got a call from a woman in Jackson who wanted to meet. She told her there were two buildings in her area that needed saving: the Campton school and Jackson’s early 1900s federal building.

Wiedemann renovated the Jackson building into Federal Place Apartments in 2013. The following year, people in Campton approached her.

The Campton project included $1,965,277 in housing tax credit equity, $822,700 in federal and state historic tax credit equity, $650,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds and $500,000 from the federal HOME Investments Partnerships Program.

Some tax-credit equity was arranged with help from the Community Affordable Housing Equity Corp. A $1.4 million construction bridge loan came from Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises Inc. AU Associates has a 50-year land lease with Wolfe County on the property, with a 50-year renewal, and will manage it.

Lexington’s Churchill McGee Construction and Design managed the renovation. It is now finishing the last piece: the old gymnasium, which will become a county community center with sound and light equipment for concerts and plays.

“These projects happen because of people with a commitment to their community,” Wiedemann said. “We’re helping make their vision real.”


Campton School Apartments Press Release

Johan Graham, Director of Development
AU Associates, Inc.
Phone: (859) 233-2009


Ribbon Cutting Event to Celebrate the Grand Opening of The Campton School Apartments Project

CAMPTON, KY– AU Associates, Inc. proudly announces that an official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held Friday, January 15th 2016 at 2 pm to celebrate the completion of The Campton School Apartments and Community Center. This dedication ceremony will take place at 166 Wolfe County Elementary Road, Campton, KY 41301. This project will bring 19 units of mixed-income senior housing to the City of Campton and Wolfe County, an area in desperate need of affordable housing options.

Originally built in 1942 to house the Old Wolfe County High School, this structure saw over 60 years of use as an educational institution and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Now, with a different purpose, it has been revitalized and adaptively reused to create the Campton School Apartments and Wolfe County Community Center. The building has been preserved in its original form and retrofitted with the most up-to-date amenities such as handicap access, convenient parking, and elevator service to all floors.

Confirmed guests of honor include Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers II, 97th District State Representative Hubert Collins, Kentucky Housing Corporation Executive Director J. Kathryn Peters, Federal Home Loan Bank Cincinnati VP of Housing and Community Development Herman Bowling, City of Campton Mayor Raymond Banks, and Wolfe County Executive Judge Dennis Brooks.

“This building is absolutely stunning and I’m thrilled that everyone was able to come together and create this wonderful project for the community,” says AU’s President Holly B. Wiedemann. “There are so many buildings in Eastern Kentucky with the same potential as the Old Wolfe County School Building. My sincere hope is that other areas will follow Campton’s lead and take similar steps to both preserve their local history and give new purpose to those structures.”

The project will feature 19 units of mixed-income senior housing, 13 one-bedrooms and 6 two-bedrooms. 16 of these units will be designated as affordable housing, the driving force behind most of AU Associates’ endeavors. These luxury apartments will come equipped with energy efficient appliances, central heating and air, modern interior aesthetics, and 24 hour access to the onsite fitness center.

The structure will also house the new Wolfe County Community Center. This center will feature a full-sized gymnasium, a stage with state-of-the-art lighting and sound technology, and will be capable of hosting large community functions with ease.

Work on The Campton School Apartments Project began in October of 2014 and is the latest project completed by AU Associates, Inc.  The Lexington-based company has already completed nearly two dozen developments since it was founded by Holly B. Wiedemann in 1990, four of which are also located in Eastern Kentucky.



Parkside 2 Grand Opening Press Release



Contact: Johan Graham                                                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Telephone: 859-233-2009


LEXINGTON, KY – AU Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of Parkside 2, the 2nd phase of the Parkside Development in Lexington. AU has transformed the once blighted lot into 108 units of built, under construction, and planned affordable housing for families, and office space for the social service agencies Sunflower Kids and Bluegrass Domestic Violence. This Grand Opening will be an opportunity to celebrate with the City of Lexington, neighbors, and funding partners on a successful collaboration, as well as look to the future and garner local support for the planned Parkside 3, the third and final phase of the Parkside Development Project.

Mayor of Lexington Jim Gray and President and CEO of CAHEC Dana Boole are confirmed attendees and the featured speakers of the event, which will also highlight our funding partners: Citizen’s Union Bank of Shelbyville, Kentucky Housing Corporation, and the City of Lexington.

Utilizing tax credits provided by the Kentucky Housing Corporation and the City of Lexington HOME Funds, Parkside 2 is beautiful example of Urban Infill and Affordable Housing, two pillars of AU Associates’ work. The Parkside Project occupies a formerly abandoned lot in the Gardenside Neighborhood of Lexington, relieving the surrounding area of what many called an eyesore, and provides affordable housing to individuals that are within the 50%-60% area median income range.

“My goal has always been to build a home that I would want to live in myself.” says AU’s President and Owner Holly Wiedemann. “Each and every one of our projects is unique to the community that they’re in and Parkside is no different. To me, Parkside reflects the dualities of Lexington itself. Parkside 1 is distinctly urban, inspired by more modern architecture while Parkside 2 involves more natural elements that parallel the landscapes of the Bluegrass Region.”

With the opening of Parkside 2, 36 units of affordable living have been added to the project, doubling the previous amount to a total of 72 units.  As of now, Parkside 3 in still in the development phase and hopes to gain the support of the City of Lexington and capture valuable tax credits in order to begin construction.

Previous media coverage of the Parkside Project can be found by following these links:

Lexington Herald Leader – Tom Elben

Business Lexington – Scott Hamilton


Recent media coverage of AU Associates, Inc. can be found by following these links:

Lexington Herald Leader – Beth Musgrave

The Lane Report

Lexington Herald Leader – Greg Kocher



This event will take place at 10:30 a.m. EST on October 14, 2015 at 1060 Cross Keys Road, Lexington, Kentucky, 40507.  Press and Public Welcome!  For more information or an interview request please contact Johan Graham at 859-233-2009.



A Peek Inside A Renovated Landmark, Springfield Sun

Robertson Building has large crowd for ribbon cutting ceremony

By John Overby
Photos by Nick Schrager
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

There was a packed house during Friday’s ribbon cutting hoping to see firsthand the long-anticipated renovations of the historic 1896 W.K. Robertson Building.

It was originally constructed in 1896 as a dry goods store and served as a staple of downtown Springfield until the 1980s, the last time its facilities were used as a business.

The property, located on the corner of Main Street and Lincoln Park Road, was donated to the city in 2011, and plans were made immediately to help restore the historic building and put it back into use. Several ideas were discussed — everything from making it to an art studio to a coffee shop — but eventually, the decision was made to transform it into both an apartment complex and a commercial space.

An architectural report estimated that this type of renovation would cost approximately $1.8 million, so the city was forced to pursue grant funding in order to make the idea a reality.

Early efforts proved to be fruitless, as an initial application for a Community Development Block Grant was not successful.

This forced the city council to find alternate routes to secure the necessary money, such as a request for proposals, something it had successfully accomplished with the building that is now Mordecai’s On Main.

Two proposals were received by the city, and the project was awarded to Lexington-based AU Associates, Inc., pending a successful grant application with both the CDBG and HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding.

“AU has a stellar record of restoring historic properties and are exceptional at managing residential property,” city administrator Laurie Smith wrote in an email.

In turn, AU agreed to revert the commercial space and its income back to the city.

And the results of that partnership were on full display during the ceremony.


Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen was the keynote speaker at the Ribbon Cutting

Several speakers, including Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen and Springfield Mayor Debbie Wakefield, made opening remarks on the ground floor of the commercial space area.

Luallen commended Springfield on its ability to “preserve what is best throughout the past” by completing this development plan.

“This is a community that really knows how to come together and make a difference,” she said. “It’s an amazing project because it does so many things. It will not only preserve this important corner, but it will now be the home for families who will move into these wonderful new apartments in this building.”

Wakefield noted that the excitement about the Robertson Building renovations were evident by looking at how many people were in the crowd, before adding that people often hear about what big cities are doing but small cities can “do many things.”

For her, this project proves just that.

“One of our best opportunities in the cities, especially in the small cities, is protecting and rehabilitating our historic buildings that we have in our communities,” she said. “While many main streets across the country are seeing a decline, we are very proud to say that this project, in renovating this 1896 historic building, has established … (even more) for our vibrant downtown.”

Current Springfield Mayor Debbie Wakefield (left) and former Mayor John Cecconi presents Holly Wiedemann, AU Associates president and founder, with a painting of the Abraham Lincoln statue in front of the Washington County Judicial Center. Wiedemann said she would hang the painting in the offices at AU in Lexington.

Current Springfield Mayor Debbie Wakefield (left) and former Mayor John Cecconi presents Holly Wiedemann, AU Associates president and founder, with a painting of the Abraham Lincoln statue in front of the Washington County Judicial Center. Wiedemann said she would hang the painting in the offices at AU in Lexington.

After finishing her speech, Wakefield called up Dr. John Cecconi, who was the mayor when the project was in its beginning stages and helped see it through until the end of his tenure last year, to the podium.

Together, they presented a gift — a painting of the building — to AU president Holly Wiedemann.

After an official ribbon cutting in front of the main entrance, attendees were encouraged to take a tour of the seven apartments that would be rented out.

AU is the property manager for the residential section of the building, while the city will manage the commercial space. A decision on what the commercial space will become will not be made until after all of the bids are submitted prior to the Thursday, Sept. 3, deadline.

For apartment rental info, contact AU at 859-233-2009, and for questions about commercial rental, contact City Hall at 859-336-5440.


Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen cuts the ribbon after a short program kicked off Friday’s event. Luallen was there as the keynote speaker and noted that Springfield is a community that “really knows how to come together and make a difference.”

This article and related photos are courtesy of the Springfield Sun. To read the article, click here.

Grand Opening & Dedication Ceremony for The Robertson Apartments






Springfield, Ky. – The historic Robertson Building in downtown Springfield, Ky., has received a $1.6 million renovation, opening the door to a mix of affordable apartments and commercial spaces while infusing new life into the building’s Main Street footprint.

“The Robertson’s transformation from 19th century retail center to 21st century affordable housing shows the power of innovative thinking and collaboration, and we have been proud to partner with you every step of the way on this renovation,” Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “But we can’t just measure the significance of this project by the dollars that have been invested. Creating opportunities for families to have safe, quality, efficient housing is fundamental to the livability of a community. And that you’ve done this while preserving a historic building, and reinforcing the beauty and vitality of your Main Street, is truly an accomplishment.”

The $1.6 million renovation was made possible with a mix of funds including a Community Development Block Grant, Kentucky Housing Corporation HOME funds and state and federal historic tax credits. AU Associates Inc. was the lead developer on the project, and also contributed additional funding.

“AU Associates is thrilled to have spearheaded the redevelopment of one of the most important buildings in the city of Springfield,” said Holly Wiedemann, president and founder of AU Associates. “We are passionate about bringing new life to buildings that have played such an important role in the life of a community. The WK Robertson Building, originally constructed as a dry goods store, has now been re-envisioned to begin its next life as gracious, beautiful, affordable apartments along with ground floor commercial space. It is now poised to enliven the bustling streetscape and continue the legacy of the community of Springfield.”

The Robertson Building was originally constructed in the late 1800s, serving as an imposing commercial hub in downtown Springfield until the 1980s. The city recently sought funding to help restore the historic building, converting it into seven affordable apartments with a commercial space at the street level.

“I am so proud to see this historic Robertson Building restored to its glory,” said Springfield Mayor Debbie Wakefield. “This is one of the best examples of partnering CDBG and HOME Funds with State and Federal Historic Tax Credits, combined with some local funds to renovate, restore and return to a viable use, what was a vacant and rundown anchor building, along our Main Street.  It’s an exciting day in Springfield, Kentucky and we are all delighted with the future this holds in creating economic development for our community.”

To view the original article on The Lane Report, please click here

Robertson Apartments Grand Opening Press Release


Contact: Johan Graham
Telephone: 859-233-2009



AU Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for our latest project: Robertson Apartments and Commercial Space.  Consisting of seven affordable housing units and over 2,000 square feet of commercial office or retail space, the preservation and adaptive reuse of the historic Robertson Building into apartments and storefront commercial space is the culmination of over a decade of work by local and state preservationists. The dedication ceremony will be an opportunity to celebrate with the City of Springfield, neighbors, and funding partners on a successful collaboration to create affordable housing and save a historic community asset.

Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen will be the featured speaker at the event, which will also highlight our funding partners: Springfield State Bank, Kentucky Housing Corporation, Kentucky Heritage Council, and Kentucky Department for Local Government.

The Robertson Building is evidence of the relative prosperity in the area after the arrival of the railroad in 1889, and is representative of commercial development in Washington County during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The building’s elaborate architectural detailing and prominent location, sharing the town’s main intersection with the Washington County Courthouse, speak to the prosperity and patronage of W.K. Robertson’s dry goods business. The business was owned and continuously operated in this location by the Robertson family until 1982.  The Robertson building’s impressive edifice visually and emotionally anchors Springfield’s still active Main Street.


This event will take place at 11:00 a.m. EST on August 7, 2015 at the Robertson Building at 100 West Main Street in Springfield, Kentucky.  Press and Public Welcome!  For more information or an interview request please contact Johan Graham at 859-233-2009.

AU and CityVisions Team Up To Renovate Bluegrass Icon


From the Lexington Herald-Leader

Read the article here.


AU’s Grand Opening for Davis Park View featured on WUKY

AU’s Grand Opening for Davis Park View was featured on WUKY Thursday, November 20th.

Click to listen to the podcast.