9 Against, 29 in Favor of New Nashville Convention Center

new nashville convention music city centerThe Metro Nashville City Council has voted 29 to 9 to move forward with funding the new $585 million downtown Nashville convention center also known as the Music City Center. The financing package approved by council tonight allows for a maximum of $650 million. That covers both the price of the project and financing costs such as the establishment of a $40 million debt service reserve fund.

The Music City Center totals 545,000 square feet of exhibit, ballroom, meeting and retail space and also includes a 1,800-space parking garage. The current Convention Center, by comparison, has 150,000 square feet of combined meeting and exhibit space. The current center was completed and opened on January 31, 1987.

The new convention center, set to open in February 2013, is the largest municipal project in state history and represents the hopes of downtown retailers and urban enthusiasts alike. Construction is set to begin starting in just 60 to 90 days.

Likely Benefits of the new Nashville Convention Center

Four years after opening, the project is projected to have a $135 million economic impact on the city in additional revenues and tax income.

It is reported that the Music City Center will create 2,500 immediate new construction jobs and more than 30,000 additional jobs once the center is complete. It’s my sense that the construction jobs estimate are quite accurate; however, I feel that the ultimate job creation estimate may be overestimated as much as 40%. That being said, 18,000 additional direct and indirect jobs is incredibly good news for downtown Nashville residents.

The construction of a new convention center paves the way for Dallas based Market Center Management to acquire the current convention center site for adaptive reuse as Tennessee’s first ever medical trade center. Market Center Management officials plan to construct a 12-story tower above the existing convention center with more than 1.5 million square feet of exhibit space at a cost of $250 million. This effort should create yet another 2,700 new Nashville jobs. Look for the group to execute a 5 year hold over lease in the vacant Lifeway warehousing space on 11th Avenue North in downtown very soon.

Real estate wise, the Encore just got a new lease on life. Actually, I should say that Encore condo owners just got their government bailout (for full disclosure, I am one). All of the increased focus and activity in Sobro will surely bring renewed interest on what just became one of the most well located buildings in the city.