Convention Center Authority signs off on preliminary Omni deal

Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 1:29pm

Mayor Karl Dean’s public-private financing plan to pay for a $250 million Omni hotel that would anchor Nashville’s new convention center cleared its first significant hurdle on Thursday morning.

The nine-member Convention Center Authority unanimously approved a preliminary development agreement that sets parameters for the hotel deal and obligates Metro to limit hotel negotiations exclusively with Omni.

“This allows everything else to move forward,” Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling said. “We’re moving on a very fast timeframe.”

The stage is now set for a formal public-private agreement to be presented to the authority on Sept. 30 before voting on the matter on Oct. 7. The official hotel-financing plan would then go to the Metro Council for final approval.

Omni’s development budget and design plans for the new hotel –– to be built just south of the Country Music Hall of Fame between Fourth and Fifth avenues –– are also expected by the end of September.

Under Dean’s plan, Omni would cover $250 million in development costs up front. Omni would then collect $103 million in tourism tax revenues generated by the new hotel over the course of 20 years. Omni would also receive a 62.5 percent property tax reduction and take in $25 million through tax-increment financing.

Charles Robert Bone, who provides legal counsel to the authority, said the preliminary development agreement contains “90 to 95 percent” of the language that will be in formal agreement.

Besides setting the parameters, Bone said the preliminary development agreement also obligates the authority to cover up to $1.15 million in land option costs if a development agreement is not reached.

Prior to the authority’s vote, Omni executives showed authority members a slideshow presentation that highlighted the company’s plans to “localize” the new 800-room hotel uniquely for Nashville.

Authority members seemed impressed.

“I’m hearing two things,” authority member Leo Waters said. “Ya’ll think this is a good deal. The other thing I’m hearing is they’re willing to write a $250 million check. And that’s pretty damn important, too.”

In other business, the authority signed off on a $415 million construction budget for the new Music City Center. The total price tag for the 1.2 million-square-foot facility is $585 million. The financial difference is set aside for predevelopment work, land acquisition and other non-construction costs.

7 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 9/2/10 at 4:08

Oh that 5-10% that's not now in the agreement could be the
hidden portion all will scream about when the deal is done!

By: TakePrideInNash on 9/3/10 at 8:13

LOL! It must be sad to be skeptical of everything.

By: TharonChandler on 9/3/10 at 8:27

My poor ole car stays cooler and runs better now, in the sea spray of New Jersey, than it was in the squeltering heat of Athens Alabama and Morgantown West Virginia. Just passing through. See ya later.

By: yucchhii on 9/3/10 at 10:14

ANYTHING FOR DEANS LITTLE BABY!!! Dean is ANTI HOMELESS!! People of Nashville are bitching that homeless are ALL OVER THE PLACE!! BUT DEAN TO GIVE A DAM!!! He's rather spend the money on the new convention center and a 800 room hotel and also spend taxpayers money on putting the HOMELESS in jail, even if they hadn't done anything wrong except "BE THERE!" If the money that Dean is spending on his little baby was spent on taking care of the HOMELESS in the appropriate ways, this crises would be very MINIMAL!! BUT, Dean HAS TO HAVE HIS LITTLE BABY, AND HIRE MULTIPLE HISPANIC EMPLOYEES THAT "I HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN" STANDING AROUND AND "NOT" DOING ANYTHING WHILE "MILKING" A JOB THAT "TAXPAYERS ARE PAYING FOR!!!" I don't know about you, but if that were me and I was standing around doing nothing while on the clock, I would have been "FIRED!" HELLO?

By: TakePrideInNash on 9/3/10 at 11:12

The MCC and hotel will bring in money to the city. I want to see the homeless get help, too, but most of them prefer to live on the streets. There are many churches that try to help the homeless, but a lot of them don't want it. Room at the Inn is a great program. I don't remember if you are the one who was complaining about the mission not long ago, but I know people who have volunteered there. A lot of the homeless will come in to eat and then leave instead of sleeping there. Churches are the ones who need to continue to try and help them.

By: TakePrideInNash on 9/3/10 at 11:18

Also yucchhii, your hatred for Hispanics is shining through. You have no clue if they were on break or even on the clock. Find out the facts instead of making an assumption. You do know what they say when you ASSUME something, don't you?

By: gohomenow on 9/5/10 at 1:05

Financial incentives ? Isn't making money off of our city and sucking up public services enough financial incentive ?
Karl Dink, take your carpetbagging butt home !