Ray Dayal and his partners are banking on hitting a market for mid-priced hotel rooms in the Music Valley area.
In March, Pinnacle Hospitality Partners plans to start construction on its second hotel there, a 113-room Holiday Inn Express, along McGavock Pike. Pinnacle has a 123-room Hampton Inn & Suites under construction around the corner off Music Valley Drive.
“These are two strong mid-market brands,” Dayal said. “Both brands were lacking in the area.”
The hotels also happen to be in the shadow of Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Over the years, Music Valley businesses have benefited from the hotel as well as the Grand Ole Opry.
Downtown merchants expect quite a boon for their business when the now $635-million downtown convention center is completed in 2012 if all goes as planned. Whether or not Gaylord’s $400-million expansion has the same impact is a question.
“That’s a guessing game,” said Johnny Walker, who owns three hotels in the Music Valley area. “We have had some good years and some bad years with (Gaylord).”
The hotels catch overflow from the hotel or are an option for conventioneers looking for a cheaper hotel rooms than Opryland.
Gaylord plans to begin construction late this year on 400,000 square feet of convention and meeting space along with more than 400 rooms, pushing the total rooms to nearly 3,300 rooms.
The company has said that the expansion would bring an additional 400,000 visitors to Nashville and have an economic impact of $165 million.
“I have tremendous confidence in the management and marketing of the Gaylord operations that they going to make this convention center one of the best in the Southeast,” Dayal said.
Neighboring hotels aren't the only ones that could benefit from the expansion.
Michael Smith, manager of Cooter’s Place across from Opryland, said the hotel has helped with business. Nearly three years ago, actor and former Congressman Ben Jones, who played Cooter in the hit television serious Dukes of Hazzard, opened a museum and shop featuring the show.
But Smith said most business comes from the Grand Ole Opry, which also is owned by Gaylord.
“This is their area and we are participating with them,” Smith said of Gaylord. “The more this area booms, the more business we all do.”
Walker said business was better in the area when Opryland theme park was open.
“We lost a good 25 percent out here,” Walker said, adding that two of his three hotels still aren’t doing the same level of business there were before the park closed in 1997.
He acknowledged that he isn’t going broke either.
“We’re holding it in the middle of the road,” Walker said.