Music City Center Nears Halfway Point - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Music City Center Nears Halfway Point

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by Heather Graf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Crews on the site of the $600-million Music City Center are closing in on the halfway mark.  Construction is now 45-percent complete.

Senior Project Manager Larry Atema told News Channel 5 it has been no easy undertaking.  On any given day, he said there are 800 workers on the ground, working 10 to 15 hours days just to stay on schedule.

A harsh winter and record-breaking summer have not slowed them down.  Right now, crews are on target to finish the facility in time for a grand opening in early 2013.

"Fifth Avenue won't look the same," Atema said.  "It'll just be a really active, vibrant street."

The most noticeable change in recent weeks is the disappearance of the six tower cranes that, for the past year, became part of Nashville's skyline.  The last one was removed last week. 

Atema said that's just one of several big changes.

"You'll start to see the waving form of the roof system.  The idea in the design was to not make a square box," he said.  "And on Demonbreun, you'll start to see the Grand Lobby being formed."

To really understand the scope of the project, Atema said it's best to look at the convention center by the numbers.

"The building is 2.2 million square feet," he said. "The largest room in the building is eight acres. The ballroom can sit 6,000 people."

He said the footprint of the building is longer than an aircraft carrier and twice as wide.

Crews will use 12,000 tons of steel in the structural frame of the building.  They'll also use twice the amount of concrete than crews used while building LP Field.

"For those of us that work in this business, we love it," he said.

According to the Nashville Convention Center Authority, there are already 45 conventions booked for the Music City Center, which equates to 447,000 hotel booked hotel rooms. 

They hope to have one million rooms booked by the time the Music City Center opens.

At the current pace, construction crews expect to hit the halfway mark in mid-fall, when the frame of the building is completed.  A topping-out ceremony will be held to mark the occasion.

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