Acknowledging that the proposed new convention center would potentially become the largest building project in the history of Metro, District 12 Councilman Jim Gotto has filed a resolution requesting six weeks for Council to consider the financing package presented by Mayor Karl Dean’s administration.
Gotto’s resolution won’t be considered until the Oct. 6 Council meeting.
The Dean administration has said it would bring a financing package for Council to consider in the coming months.
Once the administration files its financing plan, Gotto wants six weeks to allow for meetings with the financing and construction teams.
District 6 Councilman Mike Jameson said Council also needed a fair amount of time to present the financing package to constituents for their consideration.
Gotto’s nonbinding memorializing resolution also calls for Council to hold a public hearing on the issue where members of the public could express their support or opposition to the financing.
“Whether I vote for this project or against this project, and I haven’t made a commitment one way or the other, I certainly think we need to have as much discussion as possible, not just for the sake of delay… [but] to sit down and decide what’s best for the city,” Gotto said.
The administration has not revealed specifics on how the convention center would be funded, besides the tourism-related taxes and fees approved by Council last year. Additionally, a three-square-mile tourism development zone around the proposed SoBro site at the corner of Fifth Avenue South and Demonbreun would allow Metro to collect incremental sales tax gains as well.
Dean has promised that property taxes would not be used for the project. Estimates for the proposed convention center sit at $635 million in addition to another $200 million for its attached hotel.
In the meantime, other convention center legislation is moving forward. Council will consider at its meeting tonight a resolution to put in place nine appointments to the new Convention Center Authority, which will oversee development of Music City Center and its attached public/private hotel.
Already Metro has spent $16 million on predevelopment activities for Music City Center and allocated another $62 million for land acquisition. The Metro Development and Housing Agency, which is in charge of acquiring land for the project, has already begun issuing offers and negotiating with property owners inside the convention center’s footprint.