Nearly two years after closing its doors for a $207 million renovation, the Kentucky International Convention Center reopens Monday, Aug. 6.
Kentucky Venues, which manages the convention center, has been keeping the renovations mostly under wraps, not allowing people to see the finished product until its grand reopening ceremony this morning. The first event — University Bible Study — will be held in KICC Aug. 8-15.
As of Friday afternoon, construction workers were still putting finishing touches on the convention center, which now has 200,125 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, a 40,000-square-foot open ballroom with LED-colored walls, 52 meeting rooms, a 175-seat tiered theater and a kitchen with the capacity to serve 15,000 meals a day.
KICC now is able to accommodate events with anywhere from 75 to 4,000 people at one time, according the convention center’s newly redesigned website that launched last week.
It also features its own coffee shop and bourbon bar called Oak & Brew, allowing people buy coffee, grab-and-go food items or an adult beverage depending on the time of day. The food and beverage management company Levy Restaurants is working with local businesses Gravely Brewing Co., Mayan Cafe and Red Hot Roasters to offer food and drink options at the convention center in addition to Levy’s own offerings and catering business.
As part of the relaunch, Kentucky Venues has partnered with Louisville Water Co. to install 20 banks of branded water fountains with bottle filling stations.
“The partnerships we establish, where our brand can get exposure to audiences in public places, serve us well. Plus, they are helpful for the host locations and benefit consumers by making quality water available at no cost,” Kelley Dearing Smith, vice president of communications and marketing for Louisville Water, said in a news release.
Plans are in the works to offer Louisville Water-branded reusable bottles to convention groups for their attendees. The move and the partnership are part of sustainability efforts at KICC, the release states, noting that Levy restaurants also is taking part.
“We’re composting everything in the kitchen and using disposables that are compostable,” said Elizabeth Lessner, general manager of Levy Restaurants at KICC, said in the release. “The water piece fits very nicely.”
Tourism and Louisville Metro officials have previously stated that the upgraded convention center will allow the city to attract 25 percent more convention business and trade shows. —Caitlin Bowling