LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Signs of life are returning to downtown Lexington more than one year after the start of the pandemic.
Offices are reopening, and restaurants are welcoming customers back.
A bigger city-wide impact will be felt inside and around the expanding Central Bank Center. On Monday, we got our first glance inside the new Exhibit Hall, a 100,000 square foot space that can be divided up into four sections.
"It truly is a state-of-the-art facility," said Bill Owen, the President and CEO of Lexington Center Corporation.
There is 100,000 square feet of space that will be open to the public for the first time this weekend as two Rupp Arena mainstays return downtown.
Owen says it's because of that expansion that Central Bank Center can host the Girls Sweet 16 and the Home and Garden Show at one site in the same weekend.
"Previous to that, the Home and Garden show would have to use the arena floor. Well, now with 103,000 square feet up here, that's not required," said Owen.
The center has added new loading docks that will be utilized heavily this weekend.
On the other side of the complex, construction continues on lower levels and the Main Street entrance.
This portion and the spine that connects Main and High Streets is expected to be finished next month.
After a year of canceled events and conventions, Owen says the timing for Central Bank Center's progress could not be better.
"Because of what we've experienced the last year, competition is really fierce. VisitLEX can tell you that. But we're competing with a brand new product," said Owen.
A brand new product that should be completed by January 2022.
Once finished, Central Bank Center will contain more than 200,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. The convention center space will be doubled compared to before.