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WVRed
10-22-2007, 10:39 PM
I would really hate to see this if true.:(

http://www.kentucky.com/254/story/209651.html


City considers a replacement for Rupp Arena
By Michelle Ku
MKU@HERALD-LEADER.COM
Lexington is in the early stages of creating a special downtown taxing district that would generate money to construct a new basketball arena and to spur redevelopment along Manchester Street, city leaders announced Monday.

Rupp Arena, which is 32 years old, is outdated, said Bill Owen, president and CEO of Lexington Center Corp.

Rupp lacks the amenities that other contemporary arenas of its size have, such as luxury suites and premium seating, he said.

By the time the lease with the University of Kentucky expires in 2018, Rupp will be 42, Owen said. “Without an effective plan to replace Rupp when the existing lease is up, we believe that Lexington risks losing the benefits we’ve enjoyed for the last 32 years.”

“The University of Kentucky’s intent is to continue our partnership with the civic center and continue playing basketball in downtown for a very long time,” said Jay Blanton, UK’s spokesman.

The first step toward looking at replacing Rupp is the creation of a tax increment financing district.

The Lexington Center plans to issue a “request for proposal” to hire a consultant to study the feasibility and appropriate boundaries of such a district. Proposed boundaries for the district run along South Broadway between the Norfolk Southern railroad line and West Main Street, bounded on the north by the CSX railroad line.

The consultant will evaluate the opportunities and costs associated with an arena that seats 24,000 to 30,000.

The new arena would be built on the High Street parking lot across from Lexington Center, Owen said.

The current arena would be redeveloped to create additional convention center space, he said.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Herald-Leader.

WMR
10-22-2007, 10:43 PM
Wonder if they'll keep Rupp Arena for other events?

I'm ambivalent... I love Rupp Arena, but there are A LOT of bad seats in that place...

Blimpie
10-22-2007, 11:04 PM
Long before Rick Pitino departed, her tried desperately to get the two things accomplished:

1) Building a lavish basketball-only practice facility (recently completed with 100% private funds)

2) Building an on-campus multi-purpose facility that would allow UK to reap all benefits that are currently being gobbled up by Rupp Arena in large portions (concessions, parking, private suites, PSLs)

They even went so far as to spot out several prime locations for the on-campus facility; however, at the 11th hour, Owen and his group "blinked" and re-negotiated the UK Basketball lease to allow UK more $ on the above-referenced items. In addition, UK had far more leverage in asking for available court time--as opposed to having to defer to the truck & tactor pull meets or gun & knife shows that Rupp booked throughout the year.

I would also miss Rupp Arena being the crown jewel of fall entertainment in downtown Lexington. With the massive amount of private development that is now being seen downtown (finally!), it is quite ironic that this would be the time UK would depart the downtown sector. For so many years, the downtown depended on UK hoops. Now, it should have been the time for downtown to offer a "complete package"--including UK. If they do, indeed, build a basketball-only facility...I hope that it is not along the Manchester Street corridor. I would far prefer Pitino's original plans and move it to campus.

My suspicions are that Rupp will be around for decades servicing concerts and other events. Its proximity to the big hotels and convention center will assure that.

WVRed
10-23-2007, 09:38 AM
More Info:

http://www.kentucky.com/454/story/210010.html


City planning for new arena
The idea: Replacing 'great facility' with a better one
By Michelle Ku
MKU@HERALD-LEADER.COM

How tax increment financing could help
Rupp time line
Lexington is in the early stages of planning for a state-of-the-art downtown basketball arena that would replace aging Rupp Arena as the home of the Wildcats, city officials said yesterday.

The new arena would be paid for through a downtown "tax increment financing" district that would generate millions of dollars that could also be used to expand the Lexington Convention Center, create a performing-arts auditorium and spur redevelopment along Manchester Street, city leaders said.

Rupp Arena, which is 32 years old, is outdated and lacks the amenities that other contemporary arenas of its size have, such as luxury suites and premium seating, said Bill Owen, president and chief executive officer of Lexington Center Corp., which manages Rupp.

By the time the center's lease with the University of Kentucky expires in 2018, Rupp will be 42, Owen said. "Without an effective plan to replace Rupp when the existing lease is up, we believe that Lexington risks losing the benefits we've enjoyed for the last 32 years."

A new arena -- on what's now a parking lot across High Street from Rupp -- could be up and running by the 2014 or 2015 season, Owen said.

"What I want to see happen in the long haul is to create a situation where we can keep UK interested in being downtown for many, many years to come, and I'm optimistic we can do that," said Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry.

The university supports exploring a possible downtown taxing district because it will be an economic generator and will create redevelopment opportunities, said UK spokesman Jay Blanton.

"The university is proud of its basketball home in Rupp Arena and is committed to playing in downtown for a long time," Blanton said. "Rupp Arena is a great facility. I think most people will tell you it's one of the great facilities in American college basketball."

UK has not said that it would pull out of downtown without a new arena, Blanton said.

$50 million spent in 2004

Since opening in 1976, the Lexington Center -- which includes Rupp, the Shops at Lexington Center and convention facilities -- has been expanded twice, in 1995 and 2004.

The bulk of the $50 million renovation and expansion in 2004 involved convention center improvements, including new meeting spaces, a new lobby and new storefronts. Arena renovations included a concession stand upgrade, women's restroom upgrades, a UK locker room renovation, and new seats, video boards and basketball court floor.

That renovation followed a prolonged debate in the late 1990s about whether UK should build an on-campus basketball arena near Commonwealth Stadium.

The arena renovations were critical in keeping UK at Rupp, Owen said. "I would certainly argue the city got its money's worth out of that renovation initiative."

City leaders are looking to build a new arena using money raised through a tax increment financing (TIF) district, which can be used by cities to redevelop depressed areas. The type of TIF the city is seeking requires a minimum public capital investment of $200 million.

The Lexington Center Corp. and the Downtown Development Authority next week will issue a "request for proposal" for a consultant to identify the best boundaries for the district and to complete an economic analysis for the district.

The proposed boundaries for the district include Rupp, Lexington Center and Manchester Street. The district would run along South Broadway between the Norfolk Southern Railroad line and West Main Street, bounded on the north by the CSX Railroad line. The taxing district's boundaries also encompass a portion of the long-planned Newtown Pike extension.

The consultant, who should be selected by the spring, is being asked to complete a market analysis for a new downtown Lexington basketball arena seating between 24,000 and 30,000. The analysis would include construction and operational costs as well as revenue projections. The consultant would also evaluate possible uses for Rupp Arena.

UK has played at Rupp, which opened in 1976, six years longer than in any of its previous basketball homes, Owen said.

"They were in Memorial Coliseum 25 years and now they've been in Rupp 31 with a horizon of another 10. It's time for Lexington Center to fulfill its mission of providing the University of Kentucky with the highest-quality collegiate sports arena in the country."

The new arena, which would be at least as large as the current 24,000-seat one, would be built on the High Street parking lot across from the Lexington Center, Owen said. The 160,000-square-foot arena would occupy about one-fourth of the parking lot. Parking garages would have to be constructed to offset the lost parking, Owen said.

Features in the new arena should include luxury suites, premium seating with club-type amenities upgraded from traditional concession stand menus, larger dressing rooms and meeting rooms in the backstage areas, and better flexibility to host multiple types of events, Owen said.

The bleacher seats that ring the upper bowl of the current arena would be eliminated in the new arena, Owen said. "For the 13,000 people that sit in those bleacher seats, all chair-back seats would be really welcome news."

Blanton said it was "too premature to speculate about the dimensions or scope of the project. What's been done today is to take the first step, the first of many steps."

Redeveloping old arena

When UK moved to a new arena, the current one would be redeveloped to create additional convention center space, Owen said.

It would be fairly easy to convert Rupp to additional convention center space because the floor level and concourse level of Rupp are on the same elevation as the floor of Heritage Hall and the Bluegrass Ballroom, respectively.

The south half of Rupp could be used to create a 3,500- to 5,000-seat performing-arts auditorium suitable for events that can't be held at the Lexington Opera House or the Singletary Center, Owen said.

Manchester Street, which is in an industrial area near Rupp, is the site of a proposed arts and entertainment area.

Specific redevelopment projects along Manchester have not been identified yet, but the TIF district gives every property owner and developer the opportunity to rethink what they want to do with their land in this area, said Harold Tate, president and CEO of the Downtown Development Authority

WVRed
10-23-2007, 09:40 AM
I agree with you Blimpie in that they should move it on campus. If it weren't for the high fanfare of people that follow Kentucky, I would even make it smaller, similar to Cameron Indoor.

WMR
10-23-2007, 09:45 AM
Sheesh, 30,000, that's a hell of an arena.

Heath
10-23-2007, 12:16 PM
Sheesh, 30,000, that's a hell of an arena.

30K may get Lexington back on track for an NCAA Regional Final OR a Final Four. But, it would have to be 30K Minimum.

I think there is enough hotel space in Lexington for a Final Four.

Blimpie
10-23-2007, 03:16 PM
30K may get Lexington back on track for an NCAA Regional Final OR a Final Four. But, it would have to be 30K Minimum.

I think there is enough hotel space in Lexington for a Final Four.Actually, that very fact was debated in the previous consultant study. At that time, they felt that Lexington lacked the minimum number of upscale properties within the desired radius (only the Hyatt and the Radisson) to downtown to host another Final Four. If they included the Newtown Pike corridor (+5 miles from Rupp), then you could add to that list the Mariott and the Embassy Suites (which was still being built at the time).

Now that Lexington will be hosting the World Equestrian Games in 2011, there have several committments to build larger, more upscale, properties to serve the massive influx of international visitors for that event. Most of these plans that I have seen involve areas in an around the airport; which, is also not close to Rupp.

In my opinion, I would rather they not build a facility that houses 30,000 fans--in any location. However, if they feel that it would land them a future Final Four, the economic impact for the event might be the very siren song that gets the plan approved.

bucksfan2
10-23-2007, 03:32 PM
I have only been to Rupp once and wasn't that impressed. I went down there to watch OSU in the 1st round last season. One of the biggest problems that UK has with Rupp is its lack of luxery boxes. There are none and a lot of money is generated from those boxes. It also is a bad location to get in and out of. I wouldn't doubt it if in the next 10 years UK were able to move its basketball arena to a campus location.

GoReds33
10-23-2007, 03:33 PM
Rupp arena does need to be replaced. They defenitly need a place on campus. I think that campus facilities are best for student intrest. Obdviously Kentucky has a lot of student intrest, but they need something like UC has. They need a huge arena right in the middle of campus. If this was two years ago, I would say to build it right in the middle of the football stadium. Now that's a different story.

WMR
10-27-2007, 09:03 AM
Rupp arena does need to be replaced. They defenitly need a place on campus. I think that campus facilities are best for student intrest. Obdviously Kentucky has a lot of student intrest, but they need something like UC has. They need a huge arena right in the middle of campus. If this was two years ago, I would say to build it right in the middle of the football stadium. Now that's a different story.

That's the crazy thing about UK football... even when the team has been REALLY bad, attendance has always generally been good.

I like having Rupp downtown and I would prefer a new arena be situated downtown as well.

The outlying areas of Lexington have no problem with economic growth and stability. Downtown, on the other hand, has recovered quite a bit in the last few years, but definitely NEEDS a new arena to be downtown to ensure that downtown Lexington doesn't revert to what it was in danger of becoming (dead).