City leaders say proposed convention center needed now - WKRN News 2

City leaders say proposed convention center needed now

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro Council members Monday night viewed updated artist renderings of the new convention center proposed for downtown Nashville.

The proposed 70,000 square-foot Music City Center will be built in the area bordered by 5th Avenue South and 8th Avenue, Demonbreun Street and Franklin Street and promises to bring visitors to downtown Nashville.

The Nashville Convention and Visitor's Bureau said it has already booked millions of dollars in business for the center, which has yet to broken ground.

A dozen conventions have already said they are coming, beginning in 2013, and have booked more than 130,000 rooms.

One of the most notable customers is the NCAA Women's Final Four in 2014.

Building the new center will create some 3,000 construction jobs and some are calling the center Nashville's stimulus package.

"You have people visiting here, they're spending money then they're considering coming back for vacation, then they're considering the possibility of relocating businesses here," said Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

The longer the plan stays on paper, the longer Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said the city will continue to loss money.

"To date, we have lost 297 conventions because our [current] center is too small," said Mayor Dean.

Visitors bring billions of dollars to Nashville and in fact, according to a University of Tennessee study, if tourism were to stop, taxpayers would have to pay more than $1,000 a year to make up the difference.

There will be a public meeting to discuss plans for the new convention center in May.

The city still has to buy the land for the proposed site.  Officials hope to lock up financing by the end of the year.

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