LEXINGTON, Ky. - The consulting firm Conventions, Sports & Leisure International will serve as the strategic advisor for the proposed project to renovate Rupp Arena and develop an Arts & Entertainment District in downtown Lexington.
The Lexington Center Board of Directors chose CSL in a unanimous vote Thursday. It’s the same consultant that produced a feasibility study last year on possible expansion of the convention center.
Four other firms were considered, but board chairman Cecil Dunn says CSL had the best presentation.
“It was the expertise and their knowledge of this community -- since they had already been in here for the convention report -- and the other parties that they brought to the table.”
CSL, which also submitted the lowest bid, has worked with the American Airlines Center in Dallas and the Las Vegas Convention Center. It will help craft a financing plan for the Rupp and convention center projects. Earlier this year a task force estimated that total cost could be around $250-300 million.
“If the finances don’t work, it doesn’t go. So at every step of the way they’ve got to advise us because when you get to the end of the day and you’ve selected your architects and design and all that, the financing puzzle is still very important,” says Dunn.
Also at Thursday’s board meeting, Frank Butler, former Vice President of Finance and Administration at the University of Kentucky, was formally hired by the Lexington Center as Project Director. His $200,000 annual salary will come from funding appropriated by state and local government for the Arts & Entertainment District.