During a special groundbreaking ceremony yesterday that included a musical performance by recording artist Gabe Dixon and a brief fireworks display, construction officially began on Nashville's $600 million Music City Center project, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau (NCVB) announced today.
"This is the right project at the right time for Nashville," Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said in a statement. "The tourism industry and this city will grow and prosper because of the investment we're making in the Music City Center development."
Scheduled for completion in 2013, the Music City Center will total 1.2 million square feet, encompassing a 350,000-square-foot exhibit hall, more than 50 meeting rooms, two ballrooms and approximately 36 loading docks. According to Dean, it also will create 3,000 jobs.
"With this project, Nashville proclaims that it is in the convention and tourism business to stay," said Marty Dickens, chair of the Music City Center Authority. "The Music City Center will position Nashville as a premier tourist destination."
To date, NCVB has booked more than 300,000 room nights for Music City Center, which represents approximately $85 million in direct visitor spending for the city.
"This is a historic day for Nashville's hospitality industry," said Butch Spyridon, president of the NCVB. "The new center has already begun to open doors to organizations and events we could have never hosted before and we we've only scratched the surface."