The deadline for subcontractors to bid on work related to Nashville’s new convention center is Thursday, and nearly two dozen contracts totaling more than $100 million will be awarded in the following weeks.
The date marks the beginning of the final phase of the procurement process for Music City Center, which is expected to open in February of 2013.
As of June, the Convention Center Authority had awarded $155 million in contracts to 13 subcontractors that are working under Bell/Clark Construction, the joint contractor overseeing construction.
Project leaders are accepting bids for another 22 work packages no later than Thursday, Aug. 5. Subcontractors still to be hired include those who specialize in drywall, carpeting and roofing, among numerous other trades.
Once the end round of contracting is finalized later this fall, project officials will have secured all prime subcontractors — projected to be between 35 and 40 — that will take part in Music City Center’s construction.
Some who hoped Music City Center would turn into “Nashville’s stimulus” have criticized the project’s procurement process, pointing out that the two largest contracts have been awarded to companies outside Tennessee.
Councilman Bo Mitchell, perhaps the most vocal critic of center’s procurement process, said the remaining subcontractors don’t necessarily need to be based in Nashville, so long as they provide local jobs.
“Hopefully, they’ll select companies that want Nashvillians to do the work,” Mitchell said. “Yeah, I’m still watching, and I’m going to continue to watch.”
Convention Center Authority officials say money is in fact being pumped into the economy through the purchasing of local material equipment and labor. Of the 200 vendors hired by subcontractors, more than 170 have been Middle Tennessee-based firms, according to records supplied by authority officials.
“We’re very pleased with 170 locals firms,” said authority spokeswoman Holly McCall. “That’s still a very preliminary number. Obviously, we’ve got 13 prime subcontractors now, but we’ll end up with about 40. So, that number  is going to grow exponentially over the next couple of years.”
McCall said there are currently 275 workers at the convention center construction site, with approximately 3,000 people expected to work at the site over the project’s three-year duration. She said no more than 600 people will be working at the site at any given time.