Three largest convention center contracts go to out-of-state firms

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 7:31pm
Staff reports

With nearly half of all work procured for construction of the new $585 million Music City Center, 74 percent of dollars are to be spent locally in Nashville, according to a news release issued by the Convention Center Authority.

Still, the three largest contracts have gone to outside companies: $50.2 million has been awarded to Nash Inc./W.R. Nash, an Orlando, Fla.-based plumbing company; $42.6 million has gone to Ceco, a structural concrete company in St. Louis; and $39.5 million has been doled out to Indianapolis-based Lenex Steel Company.

Upon approving Nashville’s new convention center, scheduled to open in Feburary 2013, several Metro council members made clear they want its construction to be “Nashville’s stimulus.”

In all, the authority has awarded $155.1 million in contracts, with more than $115 million of that figure to go back into the local economy through the purchasing of local material, labor and equipment, as outlined in a procurement log created by Ray Bell Construction, the lead construction team for the project.

Council members, as well as Mayor Karl Dean, have also requested that 20 percent of all work related to the convention center go to small businesses or companies owned by women or minorities.

According to the nine-member authority, 28 percent of all contracts are expected to fall under that criterion, which would exceed the request.

“We’re very committed to ensuring minority-owned, women-owned, and small businesses get a fair share of the job,” Marty Dickens, who chairs the authority, said in a written statement. “Mayor Dean made local jobs and minority involvement his priorities for the project, and our team works hard on this effort every day.”

20 Comments on this post:

By: UrbanNashvillian1 on 6/16/10 at 10:11

Ready for me to say I told you so?

By: dogmrb on 6/16/10 at 11:45

I like you a lot Mayor Dean but you need to step up here.

By: idgaf on 6/17/10 at 3:37

Do we have companies here that can handle that job?

As long as no one mounted a legal challange and we are on the hook for the money we might as well build it as cheaply as possible. There will be cost overruns you can bet on that.

Wonder what he has planned next if we are stupid enough to re-elect him. Oh the hotel thats it.

By: bfra on 6/17/10 at 4:42

Wonder what "MCC big wheel" has connections with these outside companies? Bet that would be of real interest to the taxpayers!

By: budlight on 6/17/10 at 7:53

By: idgaf on 6/17/10 at 3:37
Do we have companies here that can handle that job?

As long as no one mounted a legal challange and we are on the hook for the money we might as well build it as cheaply as possible.

idgaf, I just hope the "out of state" companies use reinforced concrete and good steel. And what about the "JOBS" for locals? Bet these folks will import their help.

By: producer2 on 6/17/10 at 7:55

What the City Paper failed to report is that those specific contracts were vetted and there were no local companies that could handle the specific needs required. A vast majority of the materials being used n these jobs and with these contractors are however being purchased locally as reported. Also as reported 74% of all contracts are being awarded to local firms.

True to form many of you don't care about the actual information in the report but would rather focus on the salacious headlines. Before you start making accusations that there are local companies that can do these specific jobs, do some research and point them out. Just saying it does not make it so.

By: Magnum on 6/17/10 at 8:23

Wow producer and id on the same page (at least on the local vs. out-of-state issue). I have to agree as well. This isn't a project you throw to a mom and pop from Bucksnort. This is a major undertaking and the requirements and experience needed may not have been available locally. I would think smaller, less experienced companies would have difficulty even getting bonded for such a large undertaking. Havings said that, I would love to see if there are any connections there are between these companies and the "MCC big wheel".

By: idgaf on 6/17/10 at 8:29

As far as I am concerned a sinkhole in the footprint of the MCC would be nice to stop this idiotcy.

I am thinking of the taxpayers producer has a personal interest in it.

By: TNReader on 6/17/10 at 8:38

Is there any tracking to determine how many local contractors who receive a contract are in essence just a front company as they turn around and sub-contract with out of town contractors?

By: bfra on 6/17/10 at 8:39

Magnum - Havings said that, I would love to see if there are any connections there are between these companies and the "MCC big wheel".
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That is something the public will probably never know! All this gets dealt with "under the table", just saying.

By: AmyLiorate on 6/17/10 at 9:12

Good point TNReader.

Government can tell us things like "x% will go to local companies" but there is no way to insure that. Never bite on those baited hooks, it's all a scheme to just get you to go along "becuase it's good for local people". Total crap, IMO.

There is almost no legal means for the city to only contract with local businesses to the degree they wanted people to believe. If they tried to it would only mean the costs would go skyward and/or there would be legal challenges that would waste millions. As if metro needs to worry about costs!

By: JeffF on 6/17/10 at 9:13

I am just amused when the "leadership" get surprised by things the MCC supporters knew all along but did not pass along. Leaders were never told of the amount of work that had to be done by out-of-town companies during the debate because that would just take their eyes off the prize.

Better to let them be surprised once the wheels (or white elephant feet) are rolling rather than having to justify it during the public debate? The public might get the right idea about who benefits a lot sooner than we want them to.

By: producer2 on 6/17/10 at 9:37

JeffF,
Give it a rest, the amount of local contract work is going to exceed what was promised. Also there is total transparency if you want to look for it. Go to the MCC website and they have listings for all the money spent from both Metro and MDHA in a spreadsheet listing all vendors paid and how much they were paid. But heck don't confuse the information available for what you want to make up and/or speculate on.

By: concernedtaxpayer on 6/17/10 at 10:30

What is the city's definition of local? Does this mean workers that reside in Davidson county, surrounding counties, or within the state? Mayor Dean and his cronies really do not care who performs the job, he only wants to be remembered that the MCC was built when he was mayor. If he really cared about giving locals jobs, he would have made sure that the clean up efforts were given to local companies (ex. the $17.3 million in contracts to clean up brush and demolition materials after the flood).

Magnum: Do not degrade mom and pop companies. I give mom and pop companies business every day to perform work with my business. Some of these small "mom and pop" businesses do a much better job than some larger companies in the area and even nationwide companies.

By: idgaf on 6/17/10 at 12:47

procurer what about the promise that the public would not be on the hook for this project?

You would serve yourself well by not posting and getting people riled up again.

By: catenarykat on 6/17/10 at 1:42

I think the headline conveys exactly the opposite impression of what the article actually says. It does look like someone bent over backward to present the spending in a negative light.
Maybe it's not intentional, but it's unfair. Too bad.

By: TakePrideInNash on 6/17/10 at 1:59

producer2, I have a feeling you are wasting your time. It looks like most people who post here are very negative. Not very much optimism. I personally think the MCC is going to be very good for Nashville just as the Predators and Titans are.

By: Magnum on 6/17/10 at 2:44

concernedtaxpayer, I wasn't downgrading the mom and pops of the world as I prefer to do business with them over nationwide operations. In fact, before retiring, my dad owned a mom and pop operation, made a darn good living doing it, and did quality work unmatched by much of his larger competition. Having said that, I'm simply stating a fact that is as true in this situation as it was for my dad's company. There is a limit to the size and type of construction projects that can be taken on by mom and pop operations. This may be due to experience, bonding capabilities, equipment, labor, risk aversion, etc. In addition, mom and pops are often at a distinct competitive disadvantage due to the lack of favorable supply agreements vs. their larger peers.

By: producer2 on 6/17/10 at 3:00

TakePrideInNashville
I am fully aware of the negativity and find it comical on most days. It is always a thrill to hear from folks like igdaf (you can guess what the moniker stands for) saying things like:
"procurer what about the promise that the public would not be on the hook for this project?

You would serve yourself well by not posting and getting people riled up again."

Somehow idgaf thinks he got an invoice in the mail to pay for the MCC!

By: AmyLiorate on 6/17/10 at 3:29

producer2 apparently stands to see more business from the MCC and likes the idea of more drunk tourists and few serious jobs. If the venture fails they have no skin in the game. ID, the producer couple just don't give a rat.

If the thing is a bust you will hear crickets chirping on these forums where producer2's comments should be. Hope it turns out better but I'm just saying.