Projected costs for Nashville’s proposed convention center are now $585 million, down from the $635 million budget the Mayor’s Office previously expected.
At the request of Mayor Karl Dean, project leaders have updated the dollar figure attached to the proposed Music City Center, lowering it by $50 million, which they attribute to the current state of the construction market.
“We can make these (numbers) work,” Larry Atema, senior project manager at the Metro Finance Office, told the 10-member Convention Center Authority this morning. “We have tested and stressed these numbers enough to know that it’s a very valid projection.”
Of the total budget figure, $415 million is devoted to the actual building and attached parking facility, a $35 million reduction from the $450 million originally budgeted. Remaining dollars will go toward relocating the Nashville Electric Service substation and administrative services, among other costs.
“Probably the big one is just the state of the construction markets and economy right now,” Atema said of the project price tag reduction. “There’s not a contractor in this town who’s not hurt right now. They’re not getting a lot of work, and they’ve probably laid off a lot of people.
Atema said project leaders also looked at about 100 different construction items and asked, “Is there a better, cheaper, different way we could approach that?
“We took out a lot of money through value engineering, which is pretty standard in a large construction project,” he said.
Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling said he expects the convention center’s financing plan to be released to the Metro Council in early December. A hotel, estimated at $300 million, may or may not be part of the final project.
“Mayor Dean has said, ‘We’re not going to do a hotel deal just to do a hotel deal,’ ” Riebeling said.
Project leaders say the construction component of the convention center will require 1,000 to 1,200 workers on site each day, while employing more than 3,000 workers overall.