Lexington Center Board hires consultant for proposed Rupp district

The Lexington Center Board voted Thursday to approve the hiring of Conventions, Sports and Leisure International as the consultant to create a strategic financial plan for the proposed Rupp district.

The recommendation was made to the full board by the Rupp district subcommittee, which reviewed firms responding to a request for proposal.

The scope of the work will include both a market study and a financial feasibility study for renovations to Rupp Arena, relocation of the Lexington Convention Center and ancillary development in the Rupp Arts and Entertainment District.

CSL was the subcommittee's unanimous choice, Brent Rice told the Lexington Center board. Rice is chairman of the subcommittee and chairman of the 47-member Arts and Entertainment District Task Force.

Rice said subcommittee members were impressed by the comprehensive scope of skills that CSL would bring to the project, along with the three firms it teamed with in responding to the Rupp request.

Those other firms are Legends Sales & Marketing, HKS World Events and Live Nation, which bring combined expertise in marketing, designing sports arenas and producing live music concerts.

CSL would like to start work immediately, Rice said. He hopes to get representatives of the firm to Lexington to meet Lexington Center board members in December or early January.

In addition to CSL's hiring, the Lexington Center Board approved the contract of Frank Butler, project director of the Rupp district.

Butler, a former vice president of the University of Kentucky, began work on Sept. 1. The university paid his salary through the end of the year.

Beginning Jan. 4, Butler will go on the Lexington Center payroll at a salary of $200,000 annually, with benefits.

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