Will the hotel and convention center be linked?

Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 10:45pm

The proposed Omni hotel that’s supposed to anchor Nashville’s new Music City Center may not be physically connected to it.

Architects from Dallas-based HKS Inc., charged with designing the $287 million hotel, have presented preliminary conceptual designs of a sky bridge that would cross Fifth Avenue South, connecting the 260-foot-tall hotel with the new center on the hotel’s fourth floor. Without the bridge, the street would separate the two structures.

But Omni and Metro officials still haven’t decided whether the sky bridge is in the project’s best interests. There’s also the question of which party — Omni or the city — would pay for the projected $5 million to $15 million sky bridge, or how the cost would be divvied up.

“It really gets down to cost and whether it’s really necessary,” said Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling. “I go back and forth on it.”

During a special information session last week, At-large Councilman Charlie Tygard questioned the wisdom of not providing direct access between the hotel and the center. He said the absence of a connector could become an issue when conventioneers — perhaps as many as 1,000 at any given time — try to cross Fifth Avenue from one venue to the other.

“I personally think it is very critical,” Tygard said. “On an afternoon in a driving rainstorm, if I’m a conventioneer, I don’t want to cross back and forth.”

But Omni executives, Metro officials and Nashville’s convention center brass contend that a connector isn’t a prerequisite. Charles Starks, executive director of the existing convention center, said most convention planners are accustomed to booking events at centers that lack a physical connection with a hotel.

Mike Garcia, Omni’s senior vice president of development, said a recently constructed Omni hotel that anchors
the convention center in Fort Worth, Texas, lacks a connector between the two structures. “It hasn’t been a huge issue there,” he said.

Garcia added that the project managers are keeping the sky bridge an option. He said If Omni and Metro decide during construction that the sky bridge is needed, then the two facilities could still accommodate one.

13 Comments on this post:

By: shinestx on 10/18/10 at 7:14

It looks like the Omni played Metro government and the mayor for suckers... First, they said they would spend $260 million on a hotel, and then they unveil a plain, ugly squatty warehouse-type hotel that obviously will not cost anywhere near that amount. Then they say that they will not put a connection to the Hall of Fame (guess that cost too much too)... and now (at least they're not trying to lie about this one), they say a skybridge would be too expensive. Oh wait, they are trying to like. The Omni's architect at Hill Glazier/HKS makes an announcement that they want to make 5th Avenue an "Outdoor space"... LOL. I don't know why Omni is still trying to look honest or earnest... they've already got the contract.

Of course, the mayor's staff made a huge mistake. They should have required a certain height that would be the city's new tallest (to make a really "bold" statement); they should have required the Hall of Fame connection; and of course, the skybridge. Big surprise: they screwed up!

By: producer2 on 10/18/10 at 7:24

Do the reporters from the City Paper just sit around all weekend and think up ways to write a story about anything to do with the MCC? Not one but two articles this Monday that have nothing new to report and are simply a rehash of articles written in the past 10 days. I know there is a need for some "information" so that a few posters on these boards have something to do during the day but this is getting boring....

By: roadie on 10/18/10 at 7:39

Go back to the drawing board. Figure out the differences and find a hotel chain/contractor that can do it right!

By: bfra on 10/18/10 at 7:43

Producer2 - Only thing boring about this entire Karl ego monument, is your suck-up messages. The taxpayer's have seen thru the shams of , spend someone else's money Karl from the gitgo.

By: TITAN1 on 10/18/10 at 8:09

Producer2, as we know some here would complain if they were given a million dollars tax free. They are so unhappy that it makes them bitter all the time.

By: JeffF on 10/18/10 at 9:11

Most of us Titan realize that there is no such thing as free money and that we end up paying for it somehow. Only poorly educated meeting/party planners and hotel clerks think all this stuff is free.

By: TITAN1 on 10/18/10 at 9:31

No jeff, most of you are just whiners.

By: producer2 on 10/18/10 at 10:18

Why such a dour outlook. You yourself once worked at a Hyatt in Knoxville. You must be tired of getting your butt kicked if you are now resorting to innuendo and speculation. Oh wait... that is what you always do...

By: JeffF on 10/18/10 at 12:16

Did not work at the Hyatt, worked at another property closer to the airport along with a couple of other tourism driven employers in Sevier County. Then I earned my degree in accounting and another in economics and learned how the real world works. fifteen years in government finance and accounting taught me how the underbelly works.

For some reason, Nashville "leaders" refuse to see the udder failure these investments have been in every other city. they are led around by the former party planners from their college fraternity that meetings and conventions are important. Only the returns from this petty little "industry" are not important, it is just the investment that is great. The payoffs are nonexistent. If it were not so then these things would pay for themselves rather than require taxes and fees be raised on non-users.

Taxes are not wrong. Actual government services require income to keep going. This is all just an example of money being flushed on non-governmental activities (GASB definition, not mine) while the need for real services increases and revenue remains stagnate. Remember, no one is paying property tax on all this stuff.

By: producer2 on 10/18/10 at 12:57

You are kidding me right? You have two degrees and you don't know the difference between udder and utter? That explains a lot of things....

By: TITAN1 on 10/18/10 at 1:07


By: producer2 on 10/18/10 at 1:07

Oh I see, you referenced the "underbelly" in the paragraph above. Now I get the connection.....

By: Jagman on 10/18/10 at 1:10

A connection is needed. An excellent example is Chattanooga. One can walk from the hotel to the convention center without getting wet or wind blown. Convention centers host meals that are too big for the hotel to handle. When a lady gets dressed up she doesn't want to walk through wind and rain. If you want to be first class...spend the money.