The New York Times recently wrote an article called “Nashville Gambles on Lure of New Convention Center”. [to read that article click here] The title stuck out to me, specifically the use of the word “gambles”. Since the inception of the 350,000 square foot “widescraper” several years ago, the project has been divisive.
City officials and tax payers have had different theories as to what would be best suited for Downtown Nashville and for the city at large. For a long time Nashville’s urban (and suburban) areas have been transformed by private developers and the growth has been indicative of the current market.
“If you build it, they will come.” – Nashville
As people begin to return to urban areas instead of creeping further out to the suburbs developers and builders created product to meet the demand. These builders speculated about the future market to create products in an attempt to get in front of the oncoming demand, but not on a large scale. People’s desires to move to urban locations were the driving force of that area building.
In the case of Nashville’s Music City Center the building is supposed to be the driving force that will draw people to the city. Mayor Dean admitted that this project would be risky, but that now was the time, with record low interest rates and construction costs, to “bet” on the city of Nashville.[Search Downtown Condos for Sale]
Early indicators are positive.
According to the NYT article nearly 90 events (including the NRA in 2015) and over 700,000 hotel room nights have been reserved. Land value in the shadow of the convention center is increasing in value, restaurants, hotels and the Country Music Hall of Fame are increasing in size to accommodate expected tourists. Also there is a general buzz that has been created around the city. Most people are kind of excited to see the finished product and see how this puts Nashville on the map.
Still there are large unanswered questions looming: What if tourist expectations aren’t met? Which government services will have to be cut to pay for the debt incurred by the creation of the Music City Center? How will the creation of the Music City Center immediately effect the Downtown Nashville residential real estate market? How will the unstable national economy effect convention attendance?
Soon these questions will be answered and we are all hoping that Nashville’s decision to build the Music City Center proves to be the right one.
As a Realtor and a resident of Davidson County my opinion is mixed. I am concerned about the timing of the project because of financial indicators, the national economy and the cost of the project. But on the other hand, I am excited about the short term effect the Music City Center has already had on the city. The buzz that has been created is great and groups are booking events. That is a good sign.
If this project delivers all that has been promised then the return generated will eventually outweigh the risk. I think the Music City Center is something Nashville has needed. Hopefully tourists will agree…and spend their money.