“You better watch out… might even cry… you’re gonna pout… I’m telling you why… Music City Center is coming to town.” That is the song being heard at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. The proposed Music City Center is in the works to be voted into existence or off the books January 19th of 2010.
“The controversial new $585 million convention center for Nashville, the largest capital project in Tennessee history seems to have the assured support of the Metro Council. Though the recent unveiling of the project’s long-awaited finance package lacks financing for a hotel, a component viewed almost universally as crucial to the facility’s long-term success, lobbyists and Council members on both sides of the issue all seem pretty confident that the Council, the ultimate arbiter on the question, will approve the so-called Music City Center come the 19th’s critical final vote.” (The City Paper, December 13, 2009)
Until then, we will have to suffer through the unsettled climate of business owners, city council members, citizens, and music lovers not seeing eye to eye. The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is just one of the properties attempting to be purchased by the city in preparation for the approval to being construction on the Music City Center. Local producers, musicians, and industry pros are unhappy with the treatment of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum as it was built in their honor.
You have hit on one of the sorest spots in my life. A year ago I was asked by the Chamber of Commerce to join and become a team member on a link between the music community and tourism.There is a secondary music industry, which is "musical tourists" which are people who visit the town during the year, around 50,000 of them, spend around $1200-$1500 per trip, in hotels, bars, resturants, events, tourists destination and most importantly, songwriter-related studios, concerts, etc. We have 150 show up at a monthly party that is not even advertised past word of mouth.
Many of those people end up relocating to Nashville. That brings money, families, jobs, and all the things that are related to it. After a few meetings, it was all put on hold to start shilling for this Convention Center and hotel. Now the biggest nasty part of this is that all convention business is off nationwide by between 40 and sometimes 70%. Businesses are doing less conventions because they do more by internet now. there are less conventions in every town. And the big convention towns, Las Vegas, San Diego, and others who have built these big monoliths have experienced it hugely as they go largely un-rented. Part of it is the economy, but just like the music business itself, there are some things that "just ain't coming back." Those big conventions are one of them.
The Musicians hall of fame is simply one of the casulties. The Science and Nature museam, country music Hall of Fame and other aspects of our unique identity are all suffering as well. This has definate negative consequences for many things down the road.
Often people completely overlook what is right in front of their eyes, the unique nature of this town, All to chase an elusive, almost mythical beast of misguided priorities. It is too bad and very disheartening all around. I can only hope more people will wise up. Unfortunately, I am not optimistic.
I have to echo Marc's comments. I moved here from Atlantic City where I had a convention based business. At one point it held nearly 300 major conventions a year and I saw it drop down to about 75 major conventions. It is now rebounding to about 150 but they are smaller conventions. So if a resort city with 12 casinos, a famous landmark (the Boardwalk) and 17,000 hotel rooms all within walking distance (and it is flat...not like Nashville's hills) has trouble booking conventions, How will a medium sized city fare. Las Vagas is having trouble filling up it's convention schedual too.
More and more business' are going electronic, like everything else, and there is less and less need for many conventions.
this is information I haven't even thought of as far as the actual need for convention centers until you and Marc addressed it. Why are intelligent businessmen and politicians pushing for it? why aren't they looking at the trends of other cities and saying no?
The ONLY reason Nashville ever had any convention business in the first place was Opryland. Folks being able to bring their family and send everybody off to the park during the meetings for approximately the same cost as just one person attending in San Francisco or New York made Nashville a convention magnet. Conventions book many years out. A lot of the impact of our recent economic train wreck won't be felt for some years.
The closing of Opryland pulled the rug from under a lot of downtown businesses that have a great deal of political clout. Unfortunately many don't want to face up to the fact that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and are looking at desperate, most likely futile measures.
And on to the rest of the story... why would we need a convention center when we already have one??? OHHH thats right... the plans are underway to open the 'Nashville Medical Trade Center' as early as 2010 'to service the needs of the global medical community' (http://www.marketcentermanagement.com/press/nashville/)... Such an interesting concept... especially since Governor Bredesen's term is up in 2011... What?? Not familiar with his previous employment history prior to his political life?? Of course I'm sure you knew that he was one of the top contenders to replace Daschle for Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary in Feb 2009, but got passed over by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius... what would make him a top contender for that position anyway??? Well, I'm so glad you asked... after a couple of days of research, wondering why an eminent domain case against the Musician's Hall of Fame would already be in court PRIOR to the approval of the pending plans for the New Improved Convention Center.... I just felt like there was more than meets the eye on the entire agenda on the 'Downtown Improvement Plans'...
Before he was the governor of Tennessee, he made his money in the managed care revolution, founding HealthAmerica, which acquired and ran HMOs. In the late-80s, he sold HealthAmerica to MaxiCare Health Plans, pocketing $47 million in the deal. A few years later, he teamed up with HealthAmerica's former CFO to form Coventry Corporation, a similarly oriented company, which later merged with Principal Health Care to become Coventry Health Care, which was, until 2007, a Fortune 500 managed care provider (Bredesen was no longer involved)
and here's another site which offer's more concurring insurance info....
You following where I'm goin' with this?? Politics... and a current presidential agenda of health care is running our downtown Nashville renovations..... (and I'm not even a rocket scientist!!!)
My almost ex girlfried is right, Politics. The current National obsession from everything from TARP money to government take over of everything. It is about politicians buying votes. If you view one of the other threads here, talking about "Nashville needs to be a major media center" that is the thinking. And is actually very wrong.
Nashville is something no other city is. A big little small town. The key is in the reason that brings us here, primarily aspects of the music industry, but it is consolidated in the "neighborhood" feel of the overall town. But being a major media center (which we never will, we are never going to compete on that level with New York or LA) will lose that feel. That is what the danger in this "eggs in one basket" approach. just like when they went for sports teams, ( I am a Titans fan, could care less for the Predators, but would rather not have the public build facilities for private entities in any way shape or form. If it is so good for economics, it should stand on it's own merits.)
But as they focus on all of that, building convention centers they can't pay for, hotels that will go unrented that they can't pay for, it will add to the stadiums and sports arenas they can't pay for. The whole thing is maddening and it is a follow the leader off the cliff that is happening all over this country. Both parties, all people in governement. Same thing always happens. and none of it is good. Nashville should be what it is, not try to mirror other people destroying themselves.
The saddest part is that the more they can polarize everybody and keep an endless controversy going, the more money they can raise for their campaigns from people who are angry, scared to death or both.
I think the discussion your are referring to was pondering why we don't garner more major category Grammy Awards. Does the government control the media? I hope not, yet anyway. I was not saying that Nashville absolutely had to become a major media center. If we want to continue on being a country music based town then nothing really needs to change. My statement was just an opinion as to why we don't capture Record of the Year, Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, etc. very often. I was also pointing out that any artist that gathers the attention like Taylor Swift is getting must spend the majority of their time in media centers in order to keep their media buzz going. It's not total internet based as many believe.
But I am with you, not sure how another convention center is going to help, but nobody seems to be stepping up to the plate with alternatives. Are they?
Yes, now that the center is approved, and the Musicians Hall of Fame will definitely have to move, we can all only hope that the MDHA will step up to the plate, do the right thing, and give the Musicians Hall of Fame fair compensation for their building and property so they can afford to relocate downtown and reopen in a new location!