City loses $40 million each year in business as it tears up Conv - WDRB 41 Louisville News

City loses $40 million each year in business as it tears up Convention Center

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -

Crews are six months into the project to renovate the Kentucky International Convention Center, expected to reopen in June 2018.

The west wing is being rebuilt, and the east wing is being renovated with a price tag of $180 million total, which is being paid from the state budget and local visitors' taxes.

The reconstruction is a major update on a building that brings major money to the city.

“It brought in around $40 million [each year], said Jason Rittenberry, President and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board.

The city is missing out on that $40 million each year the building is closed, but according to Rittenberry, a portion is being recovered. Some of the smaller conventions are still coming to Louisville without a convention center.

“We were able to accommodate them and keep them here in the city through some of the hotels and the meeting space and the downtown hotels," he said.

The money the city is losing during the two years of demolition and construction is a small part of a bigger picture. As the convention center expands, so does its earning potential. It will make up for the $40 million loss in just four years.

The convention center will bring in an estimated $60 million a year when it reopens.

“Conservative estimates were to increase another $20 million,” Rittenberry said. “So upwards of $60 million of impact on the community once it's reopened.”

Forty-nine new pieces of business have already booked the new convention center. Rittenberry says 24 of them never would have considered booking otherwise. The first is scheduled for July 2018, just a month after completion.

Rittenberry says it could be a risk to schedule an event so close to when the Convention Center is supposed to open.

“But we're confident with the Hunt Construction group and the team we have in place there,” he said. “So far, they've been on time and on schedule.”

According to Rittenberry, time to resolve unexpected problems is built in to the calendar, so there's a chance construction could finish ahead of schedule.

Related Stories:

Expansion plans for convention center revealed

Nearly 50 conventions confirmed at new Kentucky International Convention Center

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