Two companies bid for naming rights of Lexington Center convention center

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Two companies met Friday's deadline to bid for the naming rights of a revamped convention center at the Lexington Center that is expected to transform the downtown area around Rupp Arena.

Frank Butler, the Rupp district project manager for the Lexington Center Corporation, would not confirm to WKYT the names of the companies seeking to buy the convention center's naming rights. But Butler said the two companies' bids would be reviewed and more information could be known as early as Monday.

In July, Seattle-based architectural firm NBBJ was named designer of the revamped facility and Hunt Construction Group, Inc., the original builder, would be in charge of construction.

The massive redevelopment of the 37-year-old arena and the attached Lexington Center is expected to take two years.

The plans include private suites, a new center-hung scoreboard, chair-back seats throughout the arena, expanded concourse, a new hospitality level.

The overall seat count will remain at 23,500.

The first phase of the projects is set to begin in the fall of 2014. Once the project is underway, a construction scheduled will allow the Kentucky Wildcats to play basketball at Rupp Arena during renovations.

Rupp Arena, which opened in 1976, has been the University of Kentucky Wildcats' home ever since. Earlier this year, the facility unveiled more than $3 million in renovations - mostly with private funds - including a new locker room that featured the floor from the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans, where the Wildcats won their eighth NCAA championship.

The renovation and expansion of the Lexington Center will add about 100,000 square feet doubling space for exhibitions and adding a new ballroom and meeting rooms.

We want to clarify the naming rights are for the convention center only and not the arena.

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