Convention center given green light: Now what? - WKRN News 2

Convention center given green light: Now what?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Less than 24 hours after the Metro Council voted to approve financing for the Music City Center, the process of getting the massive construction project off the ground is already in full swing.

Clark Construction won the bid to build the Music City Center last year and has been preparing ever since.

After the council gave the go ahead Tuesday night, crews began moving construction equipment onto the 16-acre site just south of the Sommet Center.

Larry Atema is the senior manager of the project.

He told News 2, "Our charge was to be prepared to start.  We are ready to start and we've got a lot of work to do."

Before crews can actually break ground on the $585 million facility, a few things need to happen.

First, all the buildings on the site will have to be vacated and then the entire swath demolished.

"We're beginning to assemble concrete barriers on the site so as we can acquire specific sites we can safely secure them and move into the phase of demolition and preparing the site for hard construction," Atema explained.

At first, he said, the difference won't be noticeable but by January 2011, "there will be a huge amount of activity on this."

He added, "The site will have five tower cranes."

Atema said the artist renderings really don't do the massive project justice and when complete, the entire building will be one mile around.

"There are very large rooms.  The exhibit hall is nearly eight acres.  There's 53 meeting rooms and very large ballroom that can accommodate about 6,000 people," he said.

The mayor's office is already counting down the days until the Music City Center opens.

More than 20 conventions have already reserved the space beginning in 2013 and the official groundbreaking could happen as early as April that year.

Metro also needs to still acquire a few pieces of property within the 16-acre footprint, including Tower investments and Christie's Cabaret.

Both have not accepted the offer from Metro for their property.

Phil Ryan, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, expects the situation to be settled in court.

"The council has voted on this over and over and over again and [Tuesday] night brought closure to it," he said.  "I think the courts will implement the council's will and we'll move forward."

Metro's date in court is scheduled for February 5.

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