Metro revises tourism zone around new convention center

Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 2:36pm

A state panel has approved new boundaries for Nashville's tourism development zone, a defined area where a portion of sales tax revenues would be used to help pay off bonds for the proposed $585 million convention center.

Metro officials had previously devised the funding mechanism using a three-mile radius surrounding the footprint of the Music City Center. But state Comptroller Justin Wilson, a member of the state’s building commission, had questioned its outline, as it included neighborhoods in East Nashville and near Jefferson Street, areas that wouldn’t seem to enjoy direct economic benefits from the new convention center.

The seven-member building commission Thursday approved new boundaries unveiled by Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling that exclude these areas, establishing the Cumberland River as the eastern border, Charlotte Avenue as the northern boundary and the Interstate loop as the southern edge.

The zone’s western border, meanwhile, has moved approximately two miles down active West End Avenue, as project leaders aim to collect revenue from the numerous hotels that dot the corridor. Collectively, the territory now encompasses 2.8 miles, but it exempts car dealerships and other businesses that clearly don't cater to tourists.

“In talking with the state and working with them we agreed that businesses that are going to be directly impacted are a lot of the ones along West End,” Riebeling said. “We have large conventions and the hotels along West End are going to be used for that.”

Under Metro’s plan for the convention center, a portion of sales tax revenue generated from establishments inside the zone would be allocated toward convention center funding. Consumers would not pay higher sales tax inside the zone.

Though the approved tourism development zone is smaller, Riebeling said it's denser and will therefore be able to capture more dollars.

“A lot of the area that was in it before was undeveloped property,” he said. “So, we’ve shrunk the size, changed the boundaries but actually picked up more taxpayers currently than what existed before.”

Riebeling said projections of how much tax revenue could be collected from the zone are “all over the board,” but added it will be a “considerable piece of the financing plan.”

6 Comments on this post:

By: JohnGalt on 11/12/09 at 1:48

The "state panel" is following the Willie Sutton formula of taxation. He robbed banks because that's where the money is. The "state panel" agrees to soak West End businesses for the same reason.

By: idgaf on 11/12/09 at 6:23

That is alot of tax money that we the taxpayers will have to make up.

I was born at night but not last night.

They are trying to play us for fools.

Some of us didn't go to school here.

By: NewYorker1 on 11/13/09 at 8:48

Every time I read a story about this convention center, the price tag is different. Today it's $585 million. Last week it was $600 + million.

By: Time for Truth on 11/13/09 at 7:02

Don't worry, NY1 it will go back up again after they ram it through council. Probably well beyond 635 mil.

By: sidneyames on 11/14/09 at 6:48

I saw some tourists at the motel called The Quarters in Antioch near HickoryHollow. Maybe the metro gov-ment officials could expand it to Hickory Hollow Mall and then spend some of the damn money on our area to improve conditions for tourists as well as hard working tax payers.

It will cost a billion before it's done. We're gonna pay -- one way or the other.

I want my money back Karl.

By: Time for Truth on 11/14/09 at 11:43

How could you tell they were tourists? Were they using their turn signals?

The MCC will be Nashville's, and Mr. Dean's, Edsel.