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Construction on new Lexington convention center wraps up

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 11:46 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Construction on a new convention center in Lexington has wrapped up.

Standing in the recently completed 103,000 square foot Exhibit Hall, phase one of the Central Bank Center project is utilizing state-of-the-art technology, promising to help make Lexington more competitive.

The Exhibit Hall is part of the $275 million of the Convention Center and Rupp Arena construction project.

“There are 500 different national organizations that conduct meetings somewhere every year,” said Bill Owen, president of Lexington Center Corporation.

The older, much smaller convention center could only meet the needs of about 60 percent of those.

As part of its opening, they’re hosting the Central Kentucky Home and Garden Show starting this Friday.

Owen says this is a sign that completion of this construction, and vaccine distribution ramping up, that momentum for business and social events is finally picking up.

“This is indeed a big day for our organization,” Owen said. “It’s also a big day for our staff. It signals being able to bring some additional of our staff back to work. In fact, a few just resumed back to work last Monday getting ready for this.”

Now that Lexington has a convention center of this size, Owen says it will make the city more desirable for larger events, bringing needed business back.

On level three of the complex, the Exhibit Hall has its own loading docks, separate from the ones used at Rupp Arena on level one, docks that can also hold more weight.

A 24,000 square foot ballroom and 29,000 square footage of meeting spaces are expected to be completed in May.

“Because of what we’ve experienced the last year, competition is really fierce, VisitLex will tell you that,” Owen said. “But we’re competing with a brand new product, so that’s maybe one of the things that’s the silver lining around the cloud.”

The entire project is expected to wrap up in late January 2022.

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