Part of the issue for developer Shelby Smith, who is interested in bringing a mix of retail and restaurants to his property, is what he calls the lack of a coherent vision for commercial projects around the convention site.
“If it is going to be a development engine, shouldn’t they have outlined their idea of development? There doesn’t seem to be much sensitivity to this (the south) side of the development.”
Others disagree with that assessment. How land gets used around the convention center is up to the landowners, Spyridon said. “It’s not rocket science. The infill will be service, restaurants and hospitality related. It’s a natural chain of events, and it’s probably a couple of years away from hitting momentum.”
Originally, designers of the convention center had planned for some 30,000 square feet of retail space on the convention site. As the project took shape, however, it was made plain that the retail ambitions had to be scaled back significantly ....
Meanwhile, the number of meetings and hotel bookings committed to the Music City Center are running behind initial projections.
At this point, convention center planners were hoping to be at 500,000 room night bookings.
Spyridon said current room bookings stand at roughly 469,000 projected out more than a decade.
UPDATE: It occurred to me after writing this, that using the word "limited" to describe Karl Dean's convention center plan does not exactly express the meaning I was intending. After all, the plan is limitless for the few restaurant and hospitality vendors who will benefit from the Music City Center. To be more precise, what I meant to say is that Mayor Dean's vision of growth is one-dimensional. It does not serve Nashvillians on multiple levels, and in fact obligating the General Fund, sapping our resources actually hurts most of us who live here. And calling it one-dimensional is a much more scathing indictment, in my opinion.