Convention Center days away from reopening

Kentucky International Convention Center set to reopen

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - After two years of construction, the city will be celebrating a major makeover downtown. People can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Th Kentucky International Convention Center will be holding a grand reopening August 6th.

The convention center, located at 4th and Jefferson streets, is putting the final touches on $207 million worth of building renovations. The construction has come, of course, with some growing pains.

"We've seen it go down to nothing and back up to something," Susan Pass of the Louisville Visitors Center said.

"Once they got it leveled and started, it seemed to go pretty quickly and here we are now," Lisa Whidden of A Taste of Kentucky said.

The Kentucky International Convention Center has truly transformed. Businesses like A Taste of Kentucky and Louisville Visitor Center have had a front row seat to the changes.

"Really couldn't tell what it was before," Pass said."It wasn't open and inviting."

"It was dark," Whidden said. "You couldn't even see in the windows."

And now, it is. Local architecture firm EOP, which has been working on the project, shared some photos with WAVE 3 News of the inside of the convention center that were taken about a month ago. It has much more of an updated and modern look.

The convention center now has a main entrance, which was something it didn't have before. It used to be just a bunch of random doors going in.

"I think it's gorgeous, they have done a really good job," Bob Ferland who works downtown said.

It hasn't been easy for commuters or nearby businesses over the past 24 months.

"The mess, it's been a dust storm on 4th street," Whidden said. "The streets been closed off a lot people are confused on the construction."

"It changes every day," Ferland said. "As you see there is construction right there at 4th and Muhammad Ali, 4th and Liberty and here again at Market."

Street closures have impacted business like A Taste of Kentucky.  Their main customers are tourists who come to the convention center.

"It's been really hard," Whidden said. "That's the majority of our business,"

Whidden says what has helped over the two years are all of the new hotels. With a bigger and better convention center, Whidden is positive business will be better than ever.

The way you can explore Louisville has also changed. From the LouVelo bikes which are in front of the convention center to the new CityPost digital kiosks, which is like a giant iPad that helps you navigate downtown.

In a couple of weeks maybe all the pains with growing will be a distant memory.

"Once it's all smooth and done people will soon forget that," Pass said.

A grand reopening of the convention center will take place August 6th.

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