Four architectural groups (Space Group, AECOM, Omni; HKS, JRS; NBBJ, EOP; Populous, Sherman Carter Barnhart) are vying to take the lead in designing a renovated Rupp Arena as part of a redevelopment plan that includes the convention centre and surrounding city blocks. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said:
It’s a real tribute to Lexington and the quality of the project to get these kinds of firms. The four have demonstrated they have the imagination to reinvent Rupp Arena and ignite the surrounding blocks with a new level of excitement and activity.
Five other architectural firms responded to a proposal from the Lexington Center Corp. to bid on designing a new convention centre. Five construction management bids were received to build the projects. Most of the 14 firms teamed with Kentucky architectural and construction companies in making their bids.
Frank Butler, director of the Rupp District Project, said the firms have done the vast majority of arenas and convention centres in the United States. A selection committee appointed by the Lexington Center Corp. will interview the firms in the next few weeks and make their recommendations to the Lexington Center board of directors. Final selections are expected in July with a view to an immediate start.