City Issues RFP to sell naming rights of convention center
A rendering of the overall concept the Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment District Taskforce released for a renovated Rupp Arena and convention center.
Lexington, KY – Mayor Jim Gray will be joined by Gov. Steve Beshear and the chair of the Lexington Center’s board to announce plans concerning the future of Rupp Arena and the adjacent convention facilities Wednesday afternoon.
Soon after taking office in 2010, Gray sought to make changes to the aging arena and convention facility that was feeling cramped for space. Gray put in place the Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment District Taskforce to study what could be done with the current facilities and adjacent land owned by the Lexington Center Corporation, a public agency controlled by a board appointed by the mayor.
Last month, it was announced that a selection committee would be meeting with potential designers and builders for the project, which possibly could see the current convention center demolished for a new facility nearer to the Distillery District to the west.
That plan was the brainchild of the Space Group, an Oslo, Norway-based firm founded by architect Gary Bates, who once served as a guest lecturer at the University of Kentucky. The Space Group was hired as a consultant by the taskforce.
At the time of the plan’s release, Bates called for the existing Rupp Arena to remain and be remodeled, as well as being “freed” from the buildings that encompass it. The taskforce studied and visited New York City’s Madison Square Garden to see how it was able to remain as the home facility for the New York Knicks of the NBA and the Rangers of the NHL while it underwent a major renovation.
The taskforce said it would be possible for the University of Kentucky's men's basketball team to continue playing in Rupp during renovations. The team has a lease to play in the arena through 2018.
The taskforce, which was chaired by current Lexington Center Corporation Chairman Brent Rice, also called for an arts and entertainment district to be constructed in the current surface parking lot across High Street from Rupp Arena. A separate plan looks to develop the Town Branch Commons, a park highlighted by the Town Branch Creek that is currently underground behind the arena in what is known as the Cox Street parking lot.
Naming Rights for Convention Center
Tuesday morning a Request for Proposals was added to the website of the Rupp taskforce offering naming rights for the convention center.
According to the RFP the project "consists of the renovation and expansion of the Lexington Convention Center. The new Proposed Convention Center will be renovated in phases to accommodate existing planned events. The current concept keeps the main entry of the Convention Center on Main Street."
The RFP calls for a 10-year minimum for a name on the convention center. The name would have to be agreed upon by center's board. The RFP does not state that the name would cover Rupp Arena, though signs outside the convention center would have the new name and logo for the conference facilities.
Check with BizLex.com Wednesday afternoon for details about the announcement.