Kentucky - A Successful Meetings Destination

SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS August 2006 Life is good in the Bluegrass State, where open spaces and spectacular scenery mix with bustling cities offering a host of new attractions and facilities. This summer, the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington completes a $400,000 renovation that will increase the flexibility of its meeting and exhibit space. While the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville looks to complete Phase II of its $50-million East Wing/East Hall reconstruction project in 2007, Lexington's Kentucky Horse Park will get a new arena and a new upscale hotel by fall 2008 as it gears up to host the World Equestrian Games in 2010.

COVINGTON Northern Kentucky Convention Center, 46,200 sf of dedicated exhibit space; 17 meeting rooms, largest holds 3,800 theater-style.
LOUISVILLE Kentucky Int'l Convention Center, 300,000 sf of dedicated space (145,000 sf column-free); 50 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 4,000 theater-style. Kentucky Exposition Center, 1.2 million sf of dedicated space; 52 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 28,000 theater-style.
LEXINGTON Lexington Convention Center & Rupp Arena, 66,000 sf of dedicated meeting space; 18 meeting rooms, largest accommodates 24,000 (Rupp).
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Kentucky's airports have debuted substantial improvements and have more in the wings. Lexington's Bluegrass Airport is constructing a $15.5-million, six-gate expansion of its Concourse B to open in 2007 with new retail, dining, and passenger seating areas. A third north-south runway opened at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Int'l Airport in Dec. A 2,000-foot extension of its east-west runway that accommodates larger jets opened in 2004. Louisville Int'l Airport will complete an extension of its west runway this fall. The airport recently completed a $41-million renovation that added new customer-service amenities and six regional jet gates.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY The $54-million Bank of Kentucky Center on the Northern Kentucky University campus is under development. The arena will seat up to 10,000 when it opens in 2009.
* The Hilton Cincinnati Airport recently upgraded all 306 guest rooms and meeting space, and added a business center, two meeting rooms, and wireless Internet access.
* The 155-room Holiday Inn Riverfront in Covington completed a $3-million interior renovation in Mar.
* Upon completion of the Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Airport's $10-million renovation in Dec, it will become a 177-room Sheraton.
* The new Purple People Bridge Climb offers participants the opportunity to walk across the top of a bridge while secured with safety harnesses 140 feet above the Ohio River.

LEXINGTON The Kentucky Horse Park has announced plans to build an upscale hotel of at least 250 guest rooms and a 5,000- to 6,000-seat, climate-
controlled arena by fall 2008.
* The 409-room Marriott's Griffin Gate Resort recently completed a $12.5-million upgrade of its guest rooms.

LOUISVILLE The 1,300-room Galt House Hotel & Suites is nearing completion of its $60-million renovation that has added a rooftop fitness center and a glass-enclosed conservatory linking two guest room towers.
* The $22-million, 90-room 21c Museum Hotel opened this spring, with 5,000 sf of meeting space and an art gallery, in five adjoining 19th-century buildings.
* The 611-room Executive West Hotel is wrapping up a $13-million guest room upgrade that also added a fitness center and wireless Internet access.
* The $78-million Muhammad Ali Center opened last Nov with meeting space and areas for private receptions. The museum is located along the downtown riverfront.

While Covington's riverfront has seen dramatic change in recent years, the area still offers a delightful glimpse of the past. Just steps from dazzling new office towers, hotels, restaurants, and the Northern Kentucky Convention Center are quiet, tree-lined neighborhoods with 19th-century row houses. The historic neighborhoods are connected to Cincinnati's recently opened Great American Ball Park by the Roebling Suspension Bridge, which opened in 1867 as the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge. The Roebling has pedestrian walkways on both sides.
Less than a block from the river, Covington's newest attraction, The Ascent (pictured) is rising. A $55-million, 21-story luxury condo tower designed by Daniel Libeskind, the Ascent has created a buzz with its distinctive upward "swoop" that makes its upper floors resemble the Nike logo. The tower, scheduled to open in fall 2007, will feature 72 luxury condos including a $4.5-million penthouse.

Just a few blocks from The Ascent in Covington is the Carnegie Theater, which celebrated its grand reopening in March after a multimillion-dollar restoration. The ornate Carnegie, which opened in 1904, was designed in the Beaux Arts style. While seating was reduced from its original 750 to 450, many original architectural gems remain, such as the ceiling rosette. The latest technology was added during the restoration so the Carnegie can host a variety of functions, including private events.

Groups should consider these recommendations from Successful Meetings' Home Team* experts. Top choices in Covington include the 321-room Marriott Riverwalk, and the 226-room Embassy Suites; in Lexington, the 409-room Marriott Griffin Gate; and in Louisville, the 321-room Seelbach Hilton, the 1,300-room Galt House, and the 616-room Marriott Downtown.

*Home Team contributors who informed this section include Beth Lynch; Lisa J. Mikita, CMP; and Michelle Santee Tupps. Contact them at
[email protected]

Readers Recommend
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Greater Louisville CVB
Galt House & Suites
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