NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The proposed Music City Center will create 1,500 new jobs and $135 million in new spending by the year 2017, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean announced Wednesday.
Dean, who presented his financing plan for the $585 million convention center last month, cited a study conducted by HVS, a global consulting and services organization focused on the hotel and restaurant industry.
He said the figures are conservative and well-respected and called the study the "icing on the cake as a reason to build the new Music City Center."
"This report is important because the reason to build a new downtown convention center, and the only reason I've supported this project from day one, is to make an investment in our city," Dean said. "We have an opportunity to take visitor taxes and fees, and invest them in a way that creates jobs and grows our local economy."
If approved, the facility would become the largest public project ever built in the state of Tennessee and take three years complete.
The building would sit just south of the Sommet Center in an area bordered by Demonbreun Street to the north, Korean Veterans Parkway to the south, 5th Avenue to the east and 8th Avenue to the west, and replace the current convention center on Broadway.
The $134.9 million total economic impact of the project includes both direct spending from individuals and organizations that will use Music City Center and secondary spending that will result from their activities, such as a restaurant owner purchasing food.
In direct spending alone, the report estimates convention attendees, event planners and exhibitors will spend $86.6 million in Nashville during a stabilized year of the center's operations.
Metro Councilman Michael Craddock has been a voice for what's been so far a minority of council members critical of the plan.
When asked if he agreed with the study being "icing on the cake," Craddock shot back, "Where is my cake? Where is the cake for my constituents?"
He continued, "This study says we are going to create 1,524 new jobs, its going to cost us $600million to do that, that's about $400,000 per job, I can think of a better way to spend that $400,000."
Honky-tonk owner Brenda Sanderson, whose properties include The Stage and Legend's Corner, shares Craddock's passion, but on the other end of the spectrum.
She estimates her workforce of 70 could double if the convention center is built and says, "the spending is just going to trickle down to everybody and they are going to take that money back to their community and spend it."
The Metro Council is scheduled to vote on Mayor Dean's funding proposal on January 19.
Under his plan, the facility will not burden Davidson County taxpayers and be paid for through tourism tax.
The plan does not include funding for what some consider key to the new center's success, an adjoining hotel.
Mayor Dean said Wednesday the hotel will take approximately one year less to build than the Music City Center so there is still time to get a financing plan approved.
If the new center gets the final okay, it will make room for the proposed medical trade mart.
The quarter-billion dollar project would take over the site of the current convention center and become the first of its kind medical trade center in the world.
There are several meetings open to the public about the proposed convention center. They are as follows:
January 6: Erica Gilmore and Frank Harrison, North Precinct, 5:30 p.m.
January 6: Anna Page and Sandra Moore, Coleman Park, 734 Thompson Lane, 6 p.m.
January 7: Eric Crafton and Emily Evans, Bellevue Middle School, 6:30 p.m.
January 7: Carl Burch, Phil Claiborne, Jim Gotto, Darren Jernigan, and Bruce Stanley, Hermitage Police Precinct, 7 p.m.
January 12: Jason Holleman, Sean McGuire, and Kristine LaLonde, West End Middle School, 7 p.m.
January 12: Mike Jameson, Karen Bennett, Erik Cole, and Jamie Hollin, East Police Precinct, 6 p.m.