Mayor: There will be a convention center hotel

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 5:36pm

An announcement on the fate of an estimated $300 million hotel viewed crucial to the future of the proposed Music City Center will come next month, according to Mayor Karl Dean.

“There will certainly be a hotel,” Dean said. “The issue will be size, how it’s financed. As I’ve said before, we’re not going to build anything we can’t afford. I’m not going to force the issue. … But, we’ll have an announcement about how we’re going forward with the hotel in early December.”

The Mayor’s Office is expected to hand the Metro Council a finance plan for the $585 million convention center in a matter of weeks. It’s still unclear whether the companion hotel, envisioned as a 750- to 1,000-room structure positioned directly south of the Country Music Hall of Fame, would be a part of that package or unveiled later in a separate plan.

Dean’s hint of a looming hotel deal came after a representative of HVS Consulting, an independent firm that specializes in convention centers, released an ongoing study to the Metro Council and Convention Center Authority on consecutive days, a report consultants say proves the feasibility of the project.

The study, which is still incomplete, shows the new convention center would create a total of 370,000 new hotel room nights per year. While the number of events wouldn’t necessarily increase, the average size of a banquet or conference would double from 1,500 attendees to 3,000.

“The whole study essentially validates what we’ve been saying,” Dean said. “There is a demand for this project.”

A combination of six different taxes that target tourists would generate $59 million by 2023, said Thomas Hazinski, managing director of HVS.

Polled event planners, he said, say Nashville is the most attractive place to hold a convention among cities with similar convention markets such as New Orleans, San Antonio and St. Louis. Those same planners say they desire a downtown location.

“Our city is just a special place,” Dean said. “That’s what’s reflected in that chart when we’re above other cities. People want to come to Nashville.”

Tower Investments, the largest property owner of land in the proposed convention center’s footprint, filed suit earlier this month against Metro Development and Housing Agency for allegedly failing to show property appraisals during ongoing eminent domain proceedings. The development group has since released plans and renderings for a new high-rise for the corner of Fifth Avenue and Demonbruen Street.

“It’s pretty clear (Tower Investments) bought the property after everybody knew this was where the convention center was going,” Dean said. “But that’s for the court to decide.”


31 Comments on this post:

By: frank brown on 11/19/09 at 5:26

Karl Dean is on his way to being a financial nightmare for this city.

By: nashtnman on 11/19/09 at 5:54

6 new taxes, for tourist of course because everyone that lives here does not go downtown or ever have to stay in a hotel or have relatives visit, or buy food, or gas, or whatever this greedy bastard is going to tax next. This man has got to go. 59 Million in 14 years is 4.21 million per year, let see 885 million divided by 4.21 million is 210.21 YEARS to pay for this blunder. I realize this is simple math but if the people of this city do not rise up and stop this insane waste OF OUR TAX DOLLARS then you deserve what happens. Your grandchilden will have to pay for this. The damn thing will be useless in 15 years and another careless crooked politician will be here to shove another one down our throat. THIS SHOUD BE AN ISSUE FOR THE TAX PAYERS TO VOTE ON NOT DESCIDED BY THE GREEDY AND CROOKED POLITICIANS. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!!

By: JohnR on 11/19/09 at 6:40

Now guys calm down. All this is is a way for Our Mayor to repay his wealthy supporters. He does not give a damn about the little people. Just like the fairgrounds, he is going to take it away from the little people and give the land to HCA for a corporate campus. This fairgrounds deficit is a smoke screen. The municipal auditorium, General hospital and many other things in this government run a deficit every year.

When he and his hinchmen are done we want have enough money to pay attention.

Remember, it's all about payback. i.e. McNeely Pigot and Fox, the poster children for payback.

By: sidneyames on 11/20/09 at 7:15

I’m not got going to force the issue. … But, we’ll have an announcement about how we’re going forward with the hotel in early December.”

Kark, you are "forcing us" to vote you out. A vote on this massive spending project of yours, during these down economical times, would probably show you that the majority of your city dwellers don't want to stick our necks out on a limb for your glory and your dreams.

Our taxes are high enough.

By: govskeptic on 11/20/09 at 7:45

Mayor says "we're not going to build anything
we can't afford". We can't afford the MCC Mayor!
Folks, Convention business is falling all over the
U S and it's not just because of the current economy.
It's because they are too expensive for businesses and
organizations to put on and they're very quickly becoming
thing of the past. Yes there will be some, but look at how
many other places are heavily competing, 600million-NO

By: Mama Butterfly on 11/20/09 at 7:47

My thoughts exactly nashtnman.

By: softspoken on 11/20/09 at 7:56

This is a travesty to Nashville. Schools are crap and all these politicians want to do is build this failure that we can't afford. Dean MUST GO!

By: WayneJ on 11/20/09 at 8:18

What is the procedure for scrapping an entire county government and starting over?

By: sidneyames on 11/20/09 at 8:53

WayneJ: The answer tot your question is: Voting. Getting the word out and Voting for more fiscally responsible leaders.

By: airvols on 11/20/09 at 9:10

This is proceeding according to plan and should be built as soon as possible. This thing has been studied to death and the only argument is "I can't have my taxes to go up". Well, time to get real, stop complaining about somthing that will make Nashville a better place for future generations. Stop acting like your paying the tax, your not ,the tourist are paying. Stop opposing everything the city supports just because it's the government. You like the roads you drive on, or the water you drink? It's time for progressive thinking people to move this city into the future. I'm sure there are people in here that have a personal agenda. I'm a designer and didn't get the contract. I'm a developer and was left out. Whatever your motivation, this needs to be built. The Metro Council has acted in good faith and will continue to do the righ tthing for the people of Nashville, cudo's to you for not follwing the Crafton herd. "Build it and they will come".

By: MusicCity615 on 11/20/09 at 9:15

I trust the feasibility study. Thank you for being progressive Nashville leaders! Build the Music City Center and hotel!!!!!!

By: NewYorker1 on 11/20/09 at 9:36

I have one question. Since you guys know so much and what's better for the city and tax payers, why didn't you run for mayor? I'm confused, enlighten me please. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the money to pay for the CC coming for tourist? How many times do they have to say that? The 59 million mentioned in this article is actual taxes generated FOR the city AFTER the bills are paid to build the project

By: everloyal on 11/20/09 at 10:02

The Mayor et. al. are selling the new convention center and hotel on the premise that tourists will foot the bill through new taxes. Big question. What happens if there isn't enough tourist based revenue to pay for this. Guess who will get stuck with making up the shortfall. That's right, Nashville/Davidson county tax payers. Time to start the recall process to get "King Karl" out of the mayor's office before he does more damage that will only result in higher taxes!!

By: Floyd2 on 11/20/09 at 11:05

The opponents of this project will say anything or do anything. They have no shame. "Six new taxes"? Total garbage. There isn't a single new tax for this project. "Convention business has fallen all over the country"? Another lie. Tell us how many conventions Nashville has lost. The answer? Zero. We have one of the strongest brands on the market. We make $4 billion each year off tourism.

The HVS study is the fourth feasibility study done on this project. Each has shown the demand is there; this project will work. It's time to ignore the whining naysayers, who will never support this project, and move forward.

BTW, before any of you nimrods try to shoot back, I'm a Davidson County taxpayer. In fact, I'll compare my annual property tax bill to anyone's on this thread. I want us to expand our tax base because that will help keep our taxes low. Geez, why don't you guys learn how economics works.

By: taxed2much on 11/20/09 at 11:05

The Metro Government convention center/hotel is an extremely bad economic investment, one that no private business or individual would make. The return on investment will not be of a financial nature; it will be a legacy for a (hopefully involuntarily) retired mayor, like the vacant (except for vagrants) library at Church and 7th.


By: producer2 on 11/20/09 at 2:18

Actually NewYorker1 the fee back to the City would be about $19 million after debt service BUT that is only inclusive of the tax structure set up for repayment of the facility. There is still the small matter of the additional $250,000,000.00 in revenues that the additional people will bring into the city.

By: bfra on 11/20/09 at 3:03

producer2 - What additional people? Don't you know, all these illegals are on the taxpayer's $$$$$ also!

By: producer2 on 11/20/09 at 3:26

no, the additional 300,000 people that will come to Nashville for meetings at the MCC.
Read any one of the three reports or just the latest one that is all over the news. Those additional 300,000 people will stay an average of 3 days and spend an average of $280 per day. That translates to an additional $252,000,000.00 per year in spending in our city from folks who do not live here. Thanks for visiting, come back real soon!

By: manotin on 11/20/09 at 3:33

taxed2much - I must say I do not like the idea of the convention center/hotel. And, although I did not like the idea of a new library on Church (or the idea of the mall that was there before, or tearing down the historic theater that was there before that,) I do use the downtown library quite often. Just like I used the one at the old site. It is a nice place. So was the old one.

By: softspoken on 11/20/09 at 3:35

It's so SIMPLE. If you want it and you think it will make you money, YOU build it! Use YOUR money not mine. Metro and State departments are all having to cut back, lay off employees and cut services. We can not afford this fiasco.

By: producer2 on 11/20/09 at 3:43

No one is using your money. The portion of the taxes collected on hotel rooms and used for the new MCC is not your money. Please understand this. You will not write a check, now or ever..........

By: bfra on 11/20/09 at 3:55

producer2 - You need to broaden your scope! If the tourist don't come and there is not enough taxes to cover the "ego elephant for King Karl", it will be made up from general fund(just one example). Now, general funds are used for a lot of services, so if King is draining general funds, where does the money come from to make up the difference? All these imaginary people you are dreaming of? Who ever is paying you for all these irrational comments, needs a new mouthpiece. You just aren't cutting it!

By: border collie on 11/20/09 at 4:07

Floyd 2: When was the last time anyone's taxes were lowered in davidson co. ? my mother has lived here for 60 years and IT HASNT HAPPENED YET????? they keep going up.
The kids at Crieve Hall elementary are still going to school in running bathroom...have to walk out in the snow and freezing rain to go to the bathroom....Granberry playground is a joke!!!!!
The kids inNorth nashville obviously have problems in their schools also....that is why they are fighting to go all the way across town to a better school!
THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR SHALL WIN AGAIN!!!! It is not about us people.....IT is about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and not for my pocket...or yours!

By: bfra on 11/20/09 at 4:07

pro - Plus - as these reports are paid for with taxpayers money, "appropriated by the King & his lackeys", who do you think they will favor?

By: border collie on 11/20/09 at 4:26

the way businesses are closing and laying off ..there will not be a need for a shiny new building anyway.....WHO IS GOING TO COME? And, with companies downsizing....we wil never fill all the chairs and tables. they are dropping like flies...layed off every week where i work....starting at the top! Everything rolls downhill.....we will be left holding the big bill when dean is long gone.....

By: producer2 on 11/20/09 at 4:28

Lets play what if on every scenario in life, then we will never do anything. What if there is no more business anywhere period, then what? What if there is no more health insurance, then what? What if, what if, what if..... All you can do is go from factual history and that history tells us that people WILL come to Nashville for meetings and that the studies ARE reliable. It seems everyone on the opponents side have no trouble believing everything Heywood Sanders is telling them. He is a paid consultant as well. What is the difference? I will tell you, the opponents have a total of 1 consultant and the proponents have supplied at least three DIFFERENT studies. You are never going to like the results because they are positive and that does not suit your position. Gee what a revelation......

By: bfra on 11/20/09 at 4:53

Producer2 - And you actually believe those reports, bought & paid for, with taxpayer's money, appropriated by King Karl and his goonies? Guess you are very familiar with what a turnip truck is!

By: shef2 on 11/20/09 at 7:35

NO NEW Convention Center! Check out NASHVILLE PRIORITIES. Email your Council Members! Lots of these comments are correct - Crumbling schools, etc. I am tired of hearing "We don't have the funds for_______ (Fill in the blank...)

By: producer2 on 11/21/09 at 9:52

the reports have factual backgrounds. Why would I not believe them? Your thoughts don't jive so I understand your unwillingness, but it does not make them wrong.

By: CityProgress on 11/22/09 at 5:07
"The HVS study also predicted that Music City Center would operate at a $900,000 loss in 2015-16 and never get into the black, which caused Councilman Lonnell Matthews to ask, “What are the benefits, then?”
"...The study assumed the inclusion of a 750-room headquarters hotel, although a decision about that potential aspect of the project will be made separately and be accompanied by its own study. The tax revenue figures rely heavily on the inclusion of the hotel. Room taxes are projected to generate $14.8 million in 2013, $19.6 million in 2018 and $22.4 million in 2023."
"Riebeling said the HVS study will be used to develop a financing package to be presented early next month. "

Thats right folks! ORDER NOW in payments of $1 MILLION a year for ETERNITY!

1. The HVS report is based on inflated assumptions as usual.
2. Not even the sneaky MCC coalition bloated their figures to 300,000, as they suggested a modest increase to 196, 700 annual hotel guests after a 5 year stabilization. The current convention center generated 170,000 hotel guests in 2003. For $1 billion we get 26,700 more hotel guests that will never pay it off.
3. Conventions attract visitors for 2 nights, not 3, and no way they spend $280 a day.
4. Everyone's tired of suffering these greedy fools.
5. We should rally around the better uses of these funds, such as mass transit.
6. Half a billion dollars would put light rail and bus rapid transit through 200 miles along Nashville's major arterials. That leaves another half billion for other uses such as parks, greenways, sidewalks, schools, police, museums, libraries, boulevards, performance-music-arts development districts, festivals and other attractions to make Nashville a better place for everyone; residents, visitors, even convention biz swindlers.

By: bfra on 11/22/09 at 2:58

CityProgress - Prod2 should have enough intelligence to comprehend your comment, However, then if he/she had that many smarts, they wouldn't be a mouthpiece for our corrupt mayor & his lackeys!