After undergoing $207 million in renovations and expansions, the Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) in Louisville is gearing up for its big debut on Aug. 6.
The original convention center, built in 1974, was demolished to the ground level to make way for the new facility, designed by global architecture firm HOK. It will now offer enough space to accommodate 90 to 95 percent of the national event market, giving it a competitive advantage over similar cities such as Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Nashville, Tenn. KICC is already predicted to be able to accommodate 25 percent more types of conventions and trade shows than it would have before the increased space.
That space includes 200,125 sf of contiguous exhibit space, a 40,000-sf column-free ballroom with color-changing LED walls and 52 meeting rooms. It will feature a 175-seat conference theater and include a kitchen that has the capacity to make 15,000 meals per day. KICC’s design will also emphasize a lot of natural light, with a great deal of glass visually connecting inside and outside spaces as well as canopy skylights bringing light into the convention space. And its exterior will tout a large rooftop canopy, making the building standout in the skyline.
Louisville, as a whole, will benefit greatly from the new convention center, which is expected to generate $53 million in annual economic impact and increase downtown business by up to 25 percent. In fact, more than 50 conventions have already booked KICC for this year and beyond. The KICC debut closely coincides with the 30-story Omni Louisville Hotel that opened a mere block away in March. Working in tandem, the two will help the city of Louisville continue meetings growth in the years to come.