Proposed convention center has new, lower cost - WKRN News 2

Proposed convention center has new, lower cost

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The proposed Music City Center has a new number Thursday and its some $50 million less than last year's estimate.

The $585 million estimate, however, does not include the proposed adjoining hotel many supporters say is the key to the project's success.

Metro's consultant for the project attributes the lower cost, down from $635 million, mainly to lower constructions costs than previously estimated.

"Labor is cheaper in a down economy," Larry Atema told a meeting of the Convention Center Authority Thursday morning.

The Convention Center Authority is the group charged with recommending if the facility should be built. The group would also oversee the facility if and when it’s complete.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean must get the project approved by a potentially wary Metro Council and requested the proposal come down.

Former Metro Council member Leo Waters is one of the Convention Center Authority members.

During his two terms in the council he saw metro build an arena and pro football stadium.

He said the question is, "Do the financials make sense? Can we do this without an undue burden on the taxpayer?"

The convention center itself is expected to be paid for with increased hotel and restaurant taxes.

It's not clear how an attached hotel, estimated to cost several hundred million dollars, would be financed.

Mayor Dean is expected to have his financial plan for both projects in early December.

The Metro Council has indicated it wants six weeks to consider the project.

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