Once hot tickets, seats from the Frankfort Convention Center can barely be given away, according to the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
This week, workers began tearing down the 46-year-old structure, a process that will take about six weeks. It appears many of the arena’s approximately 5,000 fixed seats are being scrapped along with it.
The Finance Cabinet found no real takers for the seats when it posted them for auction on GovDeals.com, the website on which the state typically sells its surplus property, spokeswoman Pamela Trautner said in an email.
In October, the initial winner of the online auction immediately posted the seats for sale on Craigslist — without first paying. That bidder was told to cease and desist, and the seats were put back up for sale on GovDeals. The next winning bidder also did not pay or remove the seats in the alloted time.
“At that point, ownership reverted back to the state,” Trautner wrote.
The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet’s Department of Parks claimed about 1,000 of the seats, according to an inventory obtained from the cabinet through an open-records request. Those seats are destined for the Pine Mountain State Park in Bell County and Carter Caves State Park in Carter County, the inventory says.
Once the building was deeded over to the developer in December, however, the state no longer owned the seats, Trautner wrote.
Last week, demolition crews could be seen loading rows of seats into a dump truck. Andy Roberts, director of marketing for demolition contractor Renascent, did not respond to a request for comment.
The convention center opened in late 1971. That December, many got their first look inside when the convention center hosted a basketball game between Kentucky State College and Calvary College on the evening of Gov. Wendell Ford’s inauguration ceremony, the Courier Journal reported at the time. The building hosted its first major sporting event a week earlier when the University of Kentucky and Furman University freshman basketball teams competed there.
In 2016, the convention center hosted an estimated 111,000 visitors for 64 different gatherings, according to data from the tourist commission. Its final event — a gathering of Jehovah’s Witnesses — was held on Oct. 29.