Omni worked alongside Norwegian firm Space Group to deliver the Rupp Arena Arts & Entertainment District Master Plan in 2012. The challenge for the design team was to determine the potential for either replacement or renovation of the city’s Basketball Arena and Convention Center, sited on 46 acres in downtown Lexington and owned by the Lexington Convention Center. Space Group approached the Master Plan within the larger framework of what elements would it take to not only make this parcel work, but to allow Lexington to emerge as a great American city. This broadly defined approach became a community-wide reflection on the transformation of lexington. Literally hundreds of citizens, community, and civic leaders participated in public forums, workshops, and committees meetings. The RAAED task force alone was comprised of 47 members. The remarkable result was the overwhelming support for the final Master Plan document.
The final proposal included the creation of more characteristic streets, a continuos flow of public spaces, a shift from single use to multi-use spaces, use of enhancing topography, bringing nature back to the city, encouraging sports within the downtown, and adding new public space typologies. The results of the Master Plan have been set in motion with the next steps. In 2013 work began on the Town Branch Commons by Scape Design, and Columbus-based NBBJ began working on the design to follow the renovation recommendation for Rupp Arena and a new Convention Center. Additionally, traffic studies are targeting the return of two-way traffic on major city streets to make a more pedestrian and bike friendly downtown. The real win for Lexington is that the Space Group Master Plan will serve as a blueprint for development over the next decade.