The expansion and renovation of the Kentucky International Convention Center is set to begin in August 2016 with an early completion date of Summer 2018. In order to meet the demands of the construction schedule and remain within budget, city and state officials are working to relocate affected events during the 2016-2018 construction process.
Kentucky State Fair Board President and CEO Rip Rippetoe said that the accelerated construction schedule will “keep this renovation on time and within budget which is certainly a top priority.”
The renovation of the convention center is projected to cost $180 million. The investment will increase contiguous exhibit space by more than a third, from 146,000 square feet to over 200,000 square feet, all within the existing footprint. The project also includes renovation of meeting rooms in the existing facility.
“The expansion of the Kentucky International Convention Center is yet another example of the continued growth and momentum that is occurring in Louisville and Jefferson County,” Governor Steve Beshear said. “When this project is completed, the expanded facility will dramatically improve Louisville’s future as a top-tier convention city.”
Karen Williams, President and CEO of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau said, “Bottom line, the hospitality industry could not be more thrilled about the expansion of KICC and the increased business potential it brings to our tourism economy.” She said that the proposed construction timeline “expedites how soon we can book more and new lucrative business than we could with the current space.”
Louisville is a unique convention city and has attracted the attention of meeting planners with its two convention venues, an arena, a downtown pedestrian skywalk, and 17,000 hotel rooms in the metro area. The city hosts five of the country’s largest trade shows according to Tradeshow News Network. By 2018, additional hotels will bring the total number of rooms in the area to over 18,000.
The first event to book the newly renovated convention center was announced last month. Sweet Adelines International will bring its 2020 convention and 10,000 attendees to Louisville in part because of the new exhibit space and increased number of hotel rooms downtown.
“Louisville is open for business,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “We have one of the largest meeting spaces in the country with the Kentucky Exposition Center which continues to attract some of the largest trade shows in the country. We have a state-of-the-art arena. Just as one hotel opens its doors, we break ground on the next one. Now with this construction, groups like Sweet Adelines International are not waiting for the future. They know that the future is here. We are aggressively looking to book other groups who share this vision and are ready to get on board.”
“The KFC Yum Center’s close proximity to the convention center and downtown hotels lends well to attracting business that will utilize both venues and we are eager to build upon that relationship once the renovation is complete,” KFC Yum! Center General Manager Dennis Petrullo said. “We remain fully committed to helping the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau attract and retain business to the city by opening our doors to their patrons during this renovation period. I am confident that our state-of-the-art facility and commitment to excellent customer service can exceed all expectations for meeting planners and provide an optimal experience while they visit our city.”