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Expanded Convention Center Coming to Bluegrass Country

Among the improvements at Lexington, Ky.’s Central Bank Center is a doubling of its exhibition space.

Meeting professionals who haven’t booked Lexington, Ky., because of the size of its convention-center package may now have a new option to consider. An expansion and refresh, wrapping up this winter, changes the game for the state’s second-largest city in the heart of the Bluegrass region.

There are three major elements to the $300 million expansion and renovation of Central Bank Center:

• Exhibition space has increased to 100,000 square feet, a 51.5 percent increase from the existing 66,000 square feet.
• Ballroom space has increased to 24,330 square feet, a 38.2 percent increase from the existing 17,600 square feet.
• Approximately 25,000 square feet of meeting space has been added.

The Center is co-located with the 20,000-seat Rupp Arena, which hosts concerts and is home to the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team.

While the grand opening is still a few months away, the expanded space was largely complete this fall and has already hosted the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention, Kentucky EMS Convention, and other groups.

Central Bank Center has two attached hotels: the 366-room Hyatt Regency Lexington, with 35,114 square feet of meeting space, and the 369-room Hilton Lexington/Downtown, with 18,690 square feet of meeting space. Two new properties opened in spring 2020—Lexington Marriott City Center and Residence Inn City Center, which share 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool, and other amenities. Their combined 336 guest rooms as well as the 88-room 21c Museum Hotel are just a couple blocks away.

Across the street from Central Bank Center, another downtown Lexington project was completed in early 2021. The 90,000-square-foot LexLive entertainment complex opened with 10 movie theaters, a bowling alley, a restaurant, three bars, nearly 50 arcade games, and space for special events.

Downtown Lexington is about a 15-minute drive to Blue Grass Airport, a 75-minute drive to Louisville, Ky., and less than two hours to Cincinnati, Ohio.

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