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New agreement poised to bring more top acts to Lexington, benefitting local businesses

Rupp Arena
Posted at 5:54 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 18:25:37-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, and Eric Church are just a few of the names scheduled to play or have played at Rupp Arena in the past four years.

The chairman of the board at Lexington Center Corporation says the city's entertainment bar was raised when Oak View Group Facilities came on board to book top acts in 2018. We've learned that the partnership will continue and that OVG will begin managing day-to-day operations for Rupp Arena, the Convention Center, and the Opera House starting next month.

Moving forward, OVG will also work with VisitLEX and focus on recruiting more convention meetings.

This coincides with the nearing the end of the $300 million renovation and expansion project at Central Bank Center.

"Now we have the venues that can compete," said Bob Elliston, Board Chairman of Lexington Center Corporation.

Rupp Arena already brings in 20-plus games of top-notch basketball. But it's the entertainment side that has grown in the past 3-4 years and Elliston believes this new agreement with OVG leaves Lexington poised to be a year-round destination.

"We're looking for that whole calendar to be filled up in Lexington. So the hotels benefit, the restaurants benefit, the job opportunities, there's more tax receipts coming into the city to be reinvested," said Elliston.

One of the newest businesses opening is Elwood Hotel & Suites, which has a mural you can't miss from South Broadway.

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Elwood Hotel & Suites is on South Broadway in Lexington

"We're really close to Rupp Arena. We're really close to the hospitals," said Stephanie Toy, GM for the hotel.

This is the opening week for Elwood, a boutique hotel with southern lifestyle design, 62 rooms of various sizes, with a kitchenette. There's also Fiddletree Kitchen & Bar which Toy hopes will attract not only guests, but Lexingtonians looking for a bite to eat.

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Fiddletree Kitchen & Bar is now open for dinner

"People can see it, be proud of it, you know, the murals outside are beautiful and it does draw people into the property," said Toy.

There's even self-check-in when you walk in. But don't worry, Toy says, "There's going to be people who still want that personal touch and we'll be here for them too."

The hotel opens just in time for football season. Basketball is not too far behind, and the concerts are picking back up. Elliston is bullish on Lexington's future.

"We need to get through this pandemic. We need to get this thing under control certainly but I have faith in our community of health officials that we will. And when we come out of the other side of that, we're poised for tremendous growth," said Elliston.

Elliston says the entire project at Central Bank Center should be finished by the end of January 2022.