Music City Center hotel deal coming by Labor Day, Riebeling says

Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 11:45pm
Richard Riebeling.jpg

Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling told The City Paper Thursday he believes a deal for a convention center hotel could be finalized by Labor Day, but said conversations are continuing with parties besides Omni Hotels.

“We’re continuing to talk to multiple parties about a hotel,” Riebeling said. “I believe we’re making good progress, but we don’t have a deal. I’m optimistic we’ll get one, but we don’t have one yet.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Nashville reported Tower Investments reached an agreement to sell its 3.1-acre tract directly south of the Country Music Hall of Fame to Omni Hotels. Observers have speculated Mayor Karl Dean and his administration have coveted the property to build a companion hotel for the city’s new $585 million Music City Center.

Omni and Marriot International had previously been seen as the leading contenders to team up with Metro to construct what could be a $300 million hotel. Dean has said he’s seeking a deal that would rely on both private and public financing.

“The mayor’s been pretty clear that we’re not going to have a publicly funded hotel, or a publicly owned hotel,” Riebeling said. “That’s clearly the direction we’re moving in.”

Though Riebeling was adamant that talks are continuing with parties besides Omni, he said he hopes the administration would have something to announce by Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 6. He projected an ordinance could be presented to the Metro Council in the “fall time-frame.”

Given the timeline, Riebeling seemed to acknowledge the unlikelihood of a new hotel being constructed by February 2013, when Music City Center is slated to open. He downplayed the potential of logistical problems that could result.

“I’m not sure we can make February 2013, but I think within a few months of that is what we’re still shooting for,” Riebeling said. “I think that’s still potentially doable. It’s important we have a hotel, but it doesn’t have to open the same time as the convention center.”

12 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 7/16/10 at 6:52

Why does there have to be a deal? Omni bought land. Issue the building permits and keep the history freaks out of the way. Any deal would just be an indication of needless public financing and control. The meeting planners who dream of controlling several blocks of Nashville without spending a dime will put up a fuss about not being in control of the hotel, but they aren't good business people anyway (they would be in another industry if they were good at real business). Omni go ahead ....spend away. As long as it is all your money.

By: JeffF on 7/16/10 at 6:58

I will point out something. Nashville being such a winning brand that sets it apart from all other convention cities has started building a building (just like all the others) with a green roof and LEED standard (the in thing with convention centers in all the other cities) in downtown (just like the other cities) with a nearby Omni hotel (the most common convention hotel vendor as of the last decade). Aside from the name, where is "Nashville" shining thru as different from the competition. It sure isn't price since all the cookie cutters are giving away space just to keep attendance numbers up.

By: nvestnbna on 7/16/10 at 7:28

This is interesting, a Hotel group with ties to Opryland, optioning the original preferred parcel, thus setting a value on the land, currently owned by a group litigating the condemnation value of a key tract under the MCC, the previous article which seemed to indicate the city was leaning toward a deal with Marriott, worst case scenario there seems to be a little maneuvering by some heavy hitters on this. Sadly, the poor design of the MCC with it lack of engagement to all four sides make it where there seems the only viable alternatives are the Tower site, and one across the street on 5th and Gateway.

By: idgaf on 7/16/10 at 7:58

We are just watching the drama now. The script was written a long time ago and I would bet there will be some public funding involved.

By: airvols on 7/16/10 at 8:48

It's being built and the hotel will follow, I actually like the Marriott property better, but I have to admit I have not seen the Omni design. I would hope this will remain an upscale hotel, we don't need another middle of the road design.

By: WSPanic on 7/16/10 at 9:21

Gaylord/Omni owning a hotel for a project it fought brutally to stop? Fox, here is the hen house.

By: producer2 on 7/16/10 at 10:11

keep up people... Gaylord was in the bidding (as reported a few weeks ago) for the hotel but withdrew once the issue with the cost of damages from the flood mounted. They have never had a problem with the Convention Center, just a publicly owned hotel ( as stated by CEO Colin Reed) all this other BS being spewed by the usual suspects is just wishful thinking on your part. C'mon down and watch the building you love to hate rise from the earth. Watch Mayor Dean do exactly what he said he would do and keep the hotel a smart Private/public venture instead of a public one. Don't you just hate it when you can't spoil the party.

By: JeffF on 7/16/10 at 11:28

Why would he not let Omni make it a private/private venture? Who loses if public money is left out?

By: producer2 on 7/16/10 at 2:21

He would if that were an option. It's not... check Dallas, the Omni there is 100% public.

By: JeffF on 7/16/10 at 2:37

So the Omni is spending a little money in order to try to score big with Nashville building them a hotel and paying them management fees?

By: producer2 on 7/16/10 at 3:05

As usual you are speculating. I guess you will just have to wait and see how it plays out.

By: idgaf on 7/16/10 at 7:17

History is consistant procurer.