Ribbon-Cutting, Grand Opening Concert For Music City Center - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Ribbon-Cutting, Grand Opening Concert For Music City Center

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Mayor Dean delivers his State of Metro address from the lobby of the Music City Center. Mayor Dean delivers his State of Metro address from the lobby of the Music City Center.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday morning officially marked the opening of the Music City Center, nearly three years after the project began.

Mayor Karl Dean cut the ribbon around 9:30 a.m., and also announced that 123 meetings representing 1,062,787 room nights had been booked at the convention center. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp had set an internal goal of booking one million room nights prior to the campus opening.

"The bookings to date reflect the excitement in the industry around this project," Mayor Dean said. "All it takes is a visit to Music City to see why we are now the nation's best convention and event destination. We are not just opening the doors of a new downtown convention center, we are opening a new world of opportunity for Nashville's hospitality and tourism industry."

After the ribbon-cutting, Mayor Dean delivered his annual State of Metro address at 10 a.m. from the lobby of the center.

Country singer Brad Paisley performed before Dean took the stage, and joked that it was early when he forgot the words to one of his own songs.

An open house will continue through the day, wrapping up with a huge concert featuring Sheryl Crow and The Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill from 6 p.m through 9 p.m.

Events for the Grand Opening began on Sunday, as the doors to the Music City Center opened up to give the public their first chance to see inside.

The Music City Center is the most expensive capital project in the state's history at more than half a billion dollars. It took more than two years to build the new convention center, which spans six city blocks.

The Grand Opening has been years in the making -- from the battle to get the multi-million dollar project approved, to the lengthy process of buying up the land, and finally many months of construction.

According to Metro, the project took 110,000 cubic yards of concrete, 11,000 tons of steel and 12,000 tons of rebar to build.

Commuters into downtown have seen the building rise over six blocks south of Broadway since the ground breaking on March 22, 2010. Many downtown drivers have endured traffic delays and road blocks as some 7,300 construction workers labored to make the building a reality.

Among the things people will get to see as the 2.1 million square foot facility opens up for public tours, are a public art collection with more than 80 pieces. Those works of art are scattered throughout the building, and were created by 52 artists, including 32 from Davidson County.

The Grand Ballroom is 57,500 square feet -- the largest in the state, and when it's in full use, it will seat up to 6,000 people. It's designed to make guests feel as though they are sitting inside an acoustic guitar.

The Exhibit Hall is 350,000 square feet, nearly 8 acres and is about the same size as an aircraft carrier. The building has 13,500 light fixtures with 21,000 linear feet of track lighting, 1,100 doors, and 22 elevators and escalators.

"Every little detail is just so great," said one visitor to the center. "You look and you see just the way the stairs are, and the way the artwork is and the way it fits into everything and how it really brings out the spirit of Nashville."

Aerial views show the green roof on the building. It's composed of 14 different types of vegetation spanning over four acres to mimic the rolling hills of Tennessee. The green roof reduces the overall energy usage of the building, and also absorbs rainfall to reduce the amount of storm water runoff.

It also features a 360,000 gallon rainwater collection tank that will store rain water used to irrigate the roof and other landscaping.

The building also includes the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame off 6th Avenue, which was unveiled Sunday afternoon.

The Music City Center is roughly three times the size of the existing Nashville Convention Center. The average size of convention currently meeting in the Nashville Convention Center is 2,300; the average size of a group being booked for the Music City Center is 6,300. The business booked for the Music City Center represents new business to Nashville, or existing business that could only meet here again if a larger facility were available.

Several events were held on Sunday for the Grand Opening. They included a Fun Walk with the Mayor at Walk of Fame Park. The Nashville Symphony held a special performance, and several activities were set up in the Exhibit Hall, including a zip-line. Live music performances were set up throughout the building and there was a huge concert on the plaza featuring Phil Vassar and 10 Out of Tenn.

Because of all the events going on at the Music City Center, some roads around it will be closed during the celebration, including Korean Veterans Boulevard from 4th Avenue to 6th Avenue, Demonbreun from 4th to 6th, and 5th Avenue South from Demonbreun to Peabody Street.

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