Convention Center debate returns

Monday, May 18, 2009 at 1:38pm

The debate on a proposed new $635 million convention center for SoBro resumes Monday afternoon when the Metro Council budget and finance committee considers a critical land acquisition bill on second reading.

Metro Council will vote on the land acquisition bill at its Tuesday meeting.

It’s the next hurdle for the project, which is years in the making. Some Council members do have reservations about providing the Metro Development and Housing Agency with the land acquisition funds before a comprehensive financing package is in place. Even still, there is a sense that the bill will pass second reading, even with questions lingering.

“You could have some members vote for it on second reading to advance the debate, but who still have questions they want answered before third reading,” District 6 Councilman Mike Jameson, whose district encompasses the project, said.

When Mayor Karl Dean’s administration filed the land acquisition bill last month, concerns were raised that Metro might be putting the cart before the horse by purchasing the land before seeing how Music City Center will be financed.

After state enabling legislation was passed, Metro Council created new tourism taxes intended to pay back debt issued to fund Music City Center. Some Council members worried that those funds could only be used for a new convention center and wondered what would happen if the land were purchased but the project never ultimately received the green light.

Metro Council attorney Jon Cooper released analysis of the bill, which states the tourism taxes could continue to be collected and used to retire the debt for land acquisition. The taxes could only be collected until the debt was retired, Cooper’s analysis states.

District 22 Councilman Eric Crafton said he wants to advance debate about the convention center as well, which is why he filed a nonbinding memorializing resolution stating Council wants Music City Center to be funded without any risk to taxpayers.

It’s the second time Crafton has filed the memorializing resolution, although this time he’s also calling for a transparency web site to be created. The site would detail revenues collected for the project and how they are spent.


7 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 5/18/09 at 1:31

Good idea Eric. The mayor has your fellow council members so scared that this resolution might get 7 votes maximum. Remember most are there for ego and to ccollect their life time Medical Insurance Assistance. Not to study any issues or to
provide any vote that might cost them the one reelection needed to get their name on the bronze plague.

By: JeffF on 5/18/09 at 2:17

Huh, I don't suppose they would hold off until we find out if the Crow project can take off. I sure would hate to see the government get into something that private industry is more than capable of doing on its own.

By: nashbeck on 5/19/09 at 1:18

Let's build this center for Nashville.

By: govskeptic on 5/19/09 at 6:13

This tract is 16 acres, which seems like alot to me. How much of it does metro currently own? You can bet any council member that votes for this portion will be in for the total-damn the cost.

By: forlinjd on 5/19/09 at 1:19

Let's spare Nashville this center.

By: pandabear on 5/19/09 at 2:10

First of all, it's gonna be over $1 Billion by the time it's built.

Next, convention centers nationally have been losing money
for the last 10 years.

During the biggest rise in real estate history for the United States,
convention centers have been losing money.

...does 2 + 2 still equal 4 ?

By: nashbeck on 5/19/09 at 5:00


Facts to your assertions!