Home » Committee chosen to lead Rupp Arena renovation project

Committee chosen to lead Rupp Arena renovation project

An artist’s rendering of the future Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment District.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2012) — The Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment District project will be led by a subcommittee of the Lexington Center board of directors, reports the Lexington Herald Leader.

The subcommittee— Cecil Dunn, executive director of The Hope Center; Brent Rice, a Lexington lawyer who chaired the initial Rupp District Task Force; Royce Pulliam, founder of Urban Active; Craig Turner, CEO of MedPro Safety Products; Holly Wiedemann, an architect and developer; and Bill Owen, CEO of the Lexington Center— will try to parlay an initial $3.2 million into an urban-renewal project that could cost $300 million, the paper reports.

The project will be managed by Frank Butler, a vice-president at the University of Kentucky who offered to use his phased retirement to work on the project.

Construction could begin on Rupp by spring 2014 and spread to Town Branch Park, as it is being called, by 2015, according to Butler’s timetable.

Developing plan was the work of the Rupp Arena Arts and Entertainment Task Force — a 47-member committee including a broad cross-section of community and regional leaders. The plan recommends reinventing Rupp Arena, building a new convention center and constructing new commercial, residential and educational space downtown.

New locker rooms are being constructed using private funds — a $2.6 million projected started by UK basketball coach John Calipari, who has said he will reveal the donors’ names when the project is completed this fall.

Gov. Steve Beshear, who called the Rupp District one of the state’s top economic development project, and Frankfort legislators included $2.5 million in the state’s two-year budget for the initial work on Rupp Arena. The funds require a 100 percent local match.

Lexington will chip in $1.25 million toward the project, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau has approved $200,000 over two years. The Lexington Center Corp. has approved $250,000 over two years for the district.

SPACE GROUP, an architectural firm that has built an international reputation for excellence, has been chosen as the master planner for the Arena, Arts and Entertainment District. The work will be led by the firm’s co-founder Gary Bates, a designer and architect.

To learn more about the project, visit www.ruppdistrict.com.