More than 300 people gathered Thursday morning to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Omni Nashville Hotel, a $250 million structure to rise adjacent to the massive Music City Center convention facility.
“This will be a distinctly Nashville building,” Mayor Karl Dean told the crowd, after garnering a standing ovation while he strode to the tent-covered podium.
Excavation equipment and perimeter fencing are now on the site, bordered by Fourth and Fifth avenues on the east and west, respectively, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on the north and what will be an extended Korean Veterans Boulevard on the south.
Completion of the 21-story hotel — which will include 800 rooms, various meeting areas and street-level retail and restaurant/bar space — is slated for mid-2013. Once finished, the Omni will be the anchor hotel for the Music City Center.
During the event, Omni Hotels Inc. President Mike Deitemeyer said the Dallas-based company already has about 15,000 bookings and commitments for 100,000 more.
Deitemeyer stressed how Omni officials have been visiting various Nashville restaurant and retail businesses in an attempt to get a feel for the city.
“It’s all about creating a uniqueness here,” he said. “What makes Omni different is our drive to avoid homogenization.”
Marty Dickens, chair of the Nashville Convention Center Authority, hosted the event, calling Omni “one of the finest hotel groups in America.”
Dickens referenced the time and effort needed to make the MCC a reality. He noted Omni will perfectly supplement the convention center.
Kyle Young, director of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, recalled the day in 1999 when ground was broken on what has become the civic institution he now oversees. Drawing a parallel, he said, “Today we stand on another parking lot of dreams.”
Young did not say when work will start on the CMHofFM expansion project.
Dallas-based HKS Hill Glazier Studio is designing the hotel, with Brasfield & Gorrie to serve as general contractor.