City Leaders Have Plan For Part Of Existing Convention Center - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

City Leaders Have Plan For Part Of Existing Convention Center

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By Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Music City Center will open its doors in May and city leaders have come up with a plan that will utilize a good portion of the existing Nashville Convention Center.

The Renaissance Hotel was built right next to the convention center in the mid-1980's and has served as a headquarters hotel for conventions ever since.

"There was an agreement for 30 years the city had to operate a convention center at this location," said Charles Starks from the Nashville Convention Center.

That would mean the city would have to operate the space until 2017. A plan from the Dean administration would get taxpayers out of the deal.

City leaders will ask Metro Council members to approve an ordinance allowing Nashville to lease 50,000 square feet of the convention center's meeting space to the hotel's owner.

"The meeting space is really the most paramount probably for them, as they continue to look forward to make the hotel work very well," Stark said.

Ashford Hospitality would take over the operation of 22 meeting rooms and a ballroom that are currently part of the Nashville Convention Center.

The city will maintain ownership of the entire property and will be free to develop the 120,000 square feet of exhibit space at the center.

"So if the city ever elects to redevelop that, then it will no longer be exhibit space, it'll become whatever, whatever the city may choose, you know the mayor and council may decide to do with the space," according to Starks.

The city will build a wall between the two sections of the convention center and each side will operate independently of each other.

"So it would be very easy, in essence, to put meeting space on one side, and development on the other," Starks noted.

As part of the proposed deal Ashford will invest $20m to renovate the Renaissance and another $5m to renovate the newly acquired meeting space.

The company would be eligible for up to $5m in tax credits to cover the cost  of the meeting space renovations.

Ashford currently leases the land its hotel sits from the city. This deal calls for the city to transfer ownership of the property to Ashford.

The company will also give Music City Center priority for 400 rooms out of the 683 room Renaissance Hotel. City leaders say that room block, combined with the block of rooms from the soon-to-be complete Omni Hotel.

Metro City Council members need to approve an ordinance allowing the city to proceed with this plan. They take their first vote on the proposal on February 5th.

Read more about the Renaissance Hotel Agreement



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