Two major meetings developments are on the way for Music City: a medical mart for permanent medical trade shows and a new convention center.
In May, Dallas-based Market Center Management Co. announced it will refurbish an existing structure to create the 1.5 million-square-foot Nashville Medical Trade Center. MCMC president and CEO Bill Winsor said the company chose Nashville because it is home to many health-care firms, including the Hospital Corp. of America. The mart, which MCMC would like to open by July 2010, also will have conference facilities for continuing medical education.
The new 1.2 million-square-foot convention center is a few years further away. On June 2, the Nashville Metropolitan Council approved the use of $75 million to purchase the necessary land for the $635 million facility. Construction will be paid for by existing visitor taxes. Also in the plans is a 1,000-room headquarters hotel.
The convention center must be completed by the end of 2012 to accommodate events already booked for 2013. Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, said his office already has recorded 200,000 room nights on the books for those shows.
As Nashville Mayor Karl Dean noted, "When the new center opens, we will be able to compete for 70 percent of conventions, vs. 30 percent today."