Downtown Louisville Convention Center Will Add Exhibit, Meeting Room Space

February 11, 2015

The Kentucky International Convention Center, located in Downtown Louisville, is set to begin an expansion and renovation project in August 2016 with an early completion date of summer 2018.

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 Fair Board oversees the center.

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,” Gov. 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 added that the proposed construction timeline “expedites how soon we can book more and new lucrative business than we could with the current space.”

In the meantime, and state officials are working to relocate affected events during the 2016-2018 construction process.

On the 2013 TSNN Top 250 Trade Show List Louisville hosted five of the biggest events in the United States. All of those events, though, were held at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The first event to book the newly renovated KICC 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.

By 2018, additional hotels will bring 18,000 rooms to the Louisville area.

“Louisville is open for business,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

He added, “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 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.”

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