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smeagolsfree

Convention Center shortcomings costing Nashville $$$$

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A great article today in the Tennessean about the shortcomings and problems with the current CC as another group says they will not be back. This outlines the need for a new CC in Nashville. The only problem I am sure that is going to be brought up again and again is money. The current CC is still being paid for and the projected cost of a new center is going to somewhere in the neighborhood of a half billion.

Read on and lets get the debate for the new center started now that we have the victory of the Sounds stadium behind us.

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...7/1022/BUSINESS

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This should be a interesting discussion, particularly when the report comes out Friday, and the methods of financing such a project are outlined. It's going to be a huge amount of money and these buildings are very costly to maintain. Not many of them are actually paying their own ways.

I'm anxious to study this before making a stand for or against this. From a built environment, prestige and wow factor stance, sure, I think it would be great. But if it causes us to stretch our resources so thin we're unable to meet the commitments we, as a city, should meet for our citizens (namely us), then it become a different discussion altogether.

I try to put it in perspective for myself. Sure, I can entertain small groups for dinner at home with no problem. Everyone leaves happy and ready to come back. I could, however, take on tons of debt and entertain the royal family. They would probably return, but I'd have to put off having the roof fixed, having the HVAC repaired, put off the new TV, lower my level of insurance, possibly damage my credit rating, and overall lowering my own comfortable standard of living just to keep up with the Joneses. I think my common sense would tell me the direction I should take on that one. I would become no less of a person by keeping things within my means, even moreso, I'd guess.

If this can be financed through means that don't degrade my life, then I'm all for it...enthusiastically. But if I have to start doing without things so Winny from Winnipeg can come to Nashville to have a meeting while we could entertain Minnie from Madison without the breaking the bank just as easily, then I might just have to invite Minnie.

I truly, truly hope this can happen, but let's do it right and not do it at the expense of those who can little afford to do without things because of it.

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Hilarious, IJD.

Our convention center is less than twenty years old and is obsoleter than an Apple II. And we're still paying for it. How fast will the new one become obsolete and how long will we pay for it? Nashville is already a destination for lots of people with or without a convention center.

If it can be done without tax money, great. If not... there's too much on our plate as is. We need to make Nashville a better city for Nashvillians (and Villains) before we break the bank for visitors. Not that they're not welcome.

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Why does the convention center have to be over a million square feet? Can't it be half the size, half the price, but still be able accomidate groups three times the size of what we currently can? Besides, if we are smart with it, we can always build it so it can be constantly expanded as we need it. I think a new convention center would be wonderful, but it doesn't need to be as big as Orlando's or Las Vegas'. Just Nashville's size. I think we need to remember to go for quality, and not quantity on this one.

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I think that's the point, Cheerio. There is a faction of city leaders who think that Nashville needs to be in the same league with Orland and Las Vegas et. al. That is what a Tennessean article from late 2005 stated.

I'm sure that topic will be central to the debate once the report comes out on Friday.

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I am holding out a thumbs-up until the report is released but I am leaning towards the new CC. The reason the size is so large is because they do not want to repeat the 1987 error and build a CC that will be too small before the debt has been serviced. The beauty of the lager CC (as I understood it from the two articles) is that we can compete effectively for the large conventions that go to Chicago, Vegas, Orlando, ... and double or triple book medium and/or smaller conventions during the same week/weekend when space allows.

Heck, Knoxville just built a CC with a half a million of space so it not a matter of keeping up with the joneses it is a matter of is Nashville going to be a major player in national conventions and if so are we as a community willing to do what it takes. Lets see if the numbers work and if not then I agree we should move on to other priorities.

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This truly will be a most intersting discussion. I too look forward to hearing the details of the report, and am pleased to know that it's coming out so soon. As many have said earlier, financing will be the key. If they can find a way to finance the thing with projected increases in hotel tax revenues, etc. resulting from greatly added tourism and without requiring a tax increase on local citizens, then the project should be built without question. If not, it will be a much tougher sell. I'm in the camp that says Nashville should build a center in the league of an Atlanta or Orlando. Conventions will come out of the woodwork to Nashville if they do. I feel that one of the reasons that they got into this mess is that they built too small and on a site that could not easily be expanded in the future. In other words, the city fathers in the 80's were forward thinking enough, IMO. Not it sounds that they are trying to be VERY forward thinking. I really hope they can pull this off without costing the Nashville taxpayers. The both Minnie from Winnipeg and Minnie from Madison can enjoy visits to downtown Nashville. If they can, this project may do more to transform Nashville into a major city than any other.

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I think the city needs a new Convention Center, but when is the question that seems more glaring to me. How big is another valid question.

I would rather the city wait and get whats underway complete first, then turn around when the timing is better to get the public, financial, and political support for a new competative and top-notch CC. If the city does go for a new CC it needs to be built to specs that will make it competative to other major markets for a long time after its built, otherwise its just a waste of time, effort, and resources IMO.

Basically, if Nashville is going to do it, do it right the first time.

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I see a lot of good points in just the few posts on this subject. When I worked in DT Nashville at a hotel (almost 10 years ago) we had a great amount of business but we also knew back then that our luck was running out. Here are the most important points I see:

We should wait and build a new CC at a better time - If we do this then the next few years will be VERY lean for the businesses downtown. On the other hand when Nashville does build a new CC and is able to pull back some conventions that outgrew them, the city will be totally different than the one they left a few years back and might spark more interest in attendees.

Nashville needs a BIG CC - Nah, not really. We don't have the available hotel rooms for a huge facility. In most cases the CC Hotel follows construction of the CC itself by about 3-4 years. Nashville does however need to plan to build a CC that can be expanded.

Knoxville and Memphis have bigger facilities - true but no one is knocking down their doors to visit - at least no one very prestigious (and yes, its business so you WANT the big conventions).

Overall I give the new CC 2 thumbs up - Nashville can't even compete with Opryland as it is - we want people to come downtown so it has to be built.

Just my opinions though.

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I say make plans for a new one now. It doesn't have to be the biggest, or even in the top 10. But at least bigger than the current NCC, and this time with plenty of room for expansion. According to that article, the current convention center seems to have quite a few problems that current/potential event planners don't like. At least build one that will keep current conventions coming back (those that don't outgrow it)... and will also appeal to new conventions coming in... rather than choosing a comparable center somewhere else so as not to have to deal with the problems NCC has.

As far as the financial situation... it seems the increase in tourism alone would pay for it over time. I understand the current CC is operating at a loss... but with the revenue it brings in elsewhere (hotels, restaurants, etc.), it seems like it would make up for it. Although, all of this is just my opinion... I really have no clue about this stuff :)

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Is no one mentioning that there is a convention center at Opryland? I know this isn't owned or maintained by the city.... AND THAT'S THE BEST PART!!! Could Nashville/Davidson county not combine efforts with Gaylord to expand their facility? I have two reasons for that:

1- Land cost outside of downtown should be significantly lower

2- We could keep the current downtown facility intact and bring the smaller conventions downown. I've always thought an LRT from Opryland across the river to downtown would negate the negatives associated with Opryland's convention center.

I know everyone on here wants to see everything in the CBD, but fact is there is a relatively new facility down there, why destroy it after less than 20 years. Are we going to be promoting a new Titan's coliseum 12 years from now?

I tihnk that's the root of the problem. Nashville should have built a facility like the Georgia Dome/Georgia World Congress Center when bringing the Titan's to town in 1996. We would have hosted a Super Bowl and at the same time had a convention center on the river. Hind sight is 20/20

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Gaylord (Opryland) really caters to inclusive groups that don't have much need or desire to leave their campus (beyond the Shopryland). For the city to advertise that center would be silly because the mass of people would be so concentrated in that one area. Part of the reason some of this new development is happening downtown is because Nashville has had a very strong convention market in the past. The current new develolments are really just part of a plan, which would include a new convention center. Many of the businesses downtown depend on conventions.

There is nothing wrong with out-growing a facility. I think the biggest theme we've seen on this topic is that Nashville should probably build bigger, but not too big and then leave some room to expand if need be.

Okay here is another reason for a bigger CC: It could in turn add flights to BNA if we start landing bigger groups. I know I'd personally like to see Air Canada add a couple of more flights and maybe, just maybe get that London flight back.

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There are positives and negatives for how things unfolded w/the Convention Center and the Coliseum.

The Coliseum isn't pretty but it is extremely functional. All the seats have great sightlines and are close to the field. The players don't look like ants. It is extremely well designed in this way. However, the design, aesthetically, is a little disappointing--for a couple of reasons. First off, the original model that was presented to the public was much sleeker looking. It had some curves to it that gave it a cleaner, more modern feel. It would have complimented the Arena very well--and was supposed to as HOK also designed it. The redesign that became known as Adelphia was much less pleasing to the eye. I did have a picture of the original design, but I cannot find it. I will say it is simislar to Cincinatti's Paul Brown Stadium.

Compared to a dome, the open-air game experience at the Coliseum is much more intimate and pleasing than at a dome (IMO). The flip side to that is with where Nashville is located, as far as weather goes, the only way a Super Bowl would ever come to Nashville is with a dome or at least a retractable roof. This is where reality sets in--Nashville stretched to the limit financially to get the cheaper open air stadium built. There is just no way a city the size of Nashville, who is just entering pro sports could have ever afforded to build a stadium w/a retractable roof(amazingly expensive)--and domes are dinasours and are not being built anymore. Also to get a Super Bowl Nashville would need a much larger Convention Center than we have--so in addition to the retractable roof stadium, we would have had to pay for an expanded/new CC just to be considered for a Super Bowl.

I think, considering the circumstances, that Nashville did very well w/ the type of facility that was built to get the NFL here. Even though Bredesen gets bad PR for the deal, I think it was put together to be well w/in Nashville's means at the time and not unrealistic. The only regret, perhaps, is that if we were just now getting a team and designing a stadium, I think that groups like the Civic Design Center and others would have played a greater role in the desgin of the stadium and how it interacts with the city. Then again, w/o the Coliseum and the GEC, Nashville probably wouldnt' have the momentum that it now has in the urban core.

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To me, not ever being able to land the superbowl is not a problem. There are tons of NFL cities in the same boat. Howver, doing something about the loss of convention center business and upgrading the center to a first rate facility is an extremely important issue.

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There is talk about moving the SuperBowl to cold weather venues, but mostly to allow New York to host one someday.

I would almost rather see Nashville host the Grammies, but until we show the world that our City doesn't go to 'Hell in a handbasket' everytime a snowflake falls, we won't get any major event in the winter.

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There is talk about moving the SuperBowl to cold weather venues, but mostly to allow New York to host one someday.

I would almost rather see Nashville host the Grammies, but until we show the world that our City doesn't go to 'Hell in a handbasket' everytime a snowflake falls, we won't get any major event in the winter.

Very good point. This morning was a great example of this syndrome. Set the schools back an hour or two and still go, don 't cancel classes all together. Just because you HAVE makeup days built in, doesn't mean you have to use them...school districts. Grow a pair and send these kids to school, even if they have to walk through a TRACE of snow like this morning.

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I grew up in the north and unless the busses were frozen to the ground you went to school. Down here if someone even thinks they see a flake in the air everything shuts down.

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I grew up in the north and unless the busses were frozen to the ground you went to school. Down here if someone even thinks they see a flake in the air everything shuts down.

I live in Minnesota, and if it snows 4 or 5 inches overnight, schools get a late start of a couple hours until the roads are plowed.

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I grew up in Iowa and I can remember going to school when there were 12+ inches of snow on the ground. Of course this was about 20 years ago when people weren't as safety Conscious. There were alot of days when school should have atleast started late but didn't.

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^ Thread got slightly off topic didn't it. LOL I'm sure it will find its way back.

How big to start, plus how expandable, will a new CC have to be to make Nashville more competative indefinately (as in a acceptable lifespan for the structure)? Anybody have any ideas or opinions on that?

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