LEXINGTON, Ky. — In a special topping out ceremony held Thursday on the site of Central Bank Center, construction crews placed the final structural steel beam atop the new exhibit hall space at the $300 million convention center project. Per construction tradition, the 15-foot beam is adorned with stakeholders’ signatures, an American flag and a live evergreen tree — signifying good luck and prosperity — in celebration of the completion of the structure’s skeleton.
About 300 people are working onsite daily as the project reaches this milestone on the exhibit hall space of the new building.
“I would like to recognize and applaud the efforts of the hundreds of skilled men and women in reaching this important milestone of completing the uppermost structure of this project which has been years in planning and development.,” said Bill Owen, Central Bank Center president & CEO. “They’ve worked tirelessly to complete difficult tasks, sometimes under challenging conditions. The facilities of Lexington Center, now Central Bank Center, have served the entire region and state for 44 years. This renewal of our convention facilities and the rebirth of Rupp Arena is a grand future of among the finest convention and meeting destinations, along with one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in the country. We are eager to sustain and grow the economic impact from these world class facilities for Lexington and the Commonwealth,” Owen said.
“Congratulations to Central Bank Center,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said. “This facility has been a cornerstone of our downtown since it opened in 1976. This new addition, and the reinvention of the entire facility, will allow us to attract even more visitors to Lexington. Our investment in Central Bank Center is an investment in new jobs and in a lively downtown.”
Central Bank Center Board Chairman Bob Elliston shared those sentiments, “Getting to this stage has not been easy and has involved the hard work and support of many people. The Kentucky Legislature, The city of Lexington, under the leadership of both Mayor Jim Gray and Mayor Linda Gorton, the Lexington Center Corporations Boards, past and present, have spent years bringing to reality a world class Convention Center. Today’s ceremony represents a major milestone for all of these entities as well as for Messer Construction Co. and its workforce, the present and future residents of Lexington and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Quite simply, this project is, by far, the most important and single largest public investment the city of Lexington has undertaken in almost 50 years. This new facility will give us the space we need to provide the Lexington community and Central Kentucky with the best meeting, convention and trade show experience possible. Our commitment to excellence doesn’t change with a new building; but it will grow, and we will continue to offer the best meeting, convention, concert and large event experience in the region.”
“We are honored to be leading the expansion of this Lexington landmark,” said Messer Vice President Mark Hill. “I want to thank the Messer craft professionals and all of our subcontractors who are working onsite every day to safely build this project. Complex construction and phased renovations are what Messer does best, and we look forward to finishing this job over the next year and a half.”
The new Central Bank Center will offer 100,000 s.f. of exhibition space, a 25,000-s.f. ballroom, 25,000 s.f. of meeting space and 50,000 s.f. of hospitality space. The building will also be home to Rupp Arena, home court of the UK men’s basketball team and legendary concert venue. Construction is expected to be complete in January 2022.