It was first announced on October 1, 1984 by the Webb Cos. as a "festival marketplace" with boutiques, shops, and food kiosks. The Festival Marketplace, was it was first named, was a combined effort by the developer with the Lexington Financial Center to replace the failed Galleria project. It was to be modeled after Harbor Place in Baltimore, Maryland, Waterside in Norfolk, Virginia, Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts and Toledo, Ohio's Portside.
The open-air yet enclosed 114,000 sq. ft. structure would contain numerous small shops, a food court with a common dining area and a restaurant or a nightclub. A farmers market was also considered as a tenant.
In addition to the marketplace, $7.5 million in state aid was announced by then-Governor Martha Layne Collins towards the construction of a six-level parking structure that would serve Festival Marketplace and the Lexington Financial Center.