Developers of New Convention Center Hotel Unveil Plans

Date: 22 June 2009
The chosen developers for the 1,000-room hotel adjacent to the Music City Center unveiled their 40-story curved design for what will become the largest hotel downtown.

The development team, Colorado-based Phelps Development and Atlanta-based Portman Holdings, was chosen Tuesday by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. Developers and architects say the curved design of the $300 million hotel would fit in with the wave design of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the rounded design of the nearby Sommet Center. The winning team’s proposal was chosen from 10 proposals submitted.MDHA will now pick an operator for the hotel.
The combined team, called Phelps Portman Nashville, will now enter the complete design process for the project and oversee all financing and construction of the hotel.
Phelps Portman recently completed the design and development of the 1,190-room Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, which the development team’s senior vice president Roger Zampell says was launched just after Sept. 11.
He uses that successful project as an example to say that all projects have their challenges and Nashville’s hotel will be no different as the team begins this task during a recession.
Zampell says they did not bid on other convention center hotels in other cities, saying they picked Nashville because of its central location, its strength as a convention market and the city’s entertainment component. Phelps Portman has been involved with the development of 10 hotels with 1,000 or more rooms.
Zampell says he expects to have the design process completed by the first quarter of 2010 and the start of construction will begin three months later. Hotel construction will take 34 months and it must open by 2013 when conventions are scheduled for the new Music City Center.
The hotel entry will have glass ceilings and be a vibrant, energized space, the architects say. It will offer 100,000 square feet of meeting space, ballrooms, restaurants and retail.
Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, says a 1,000-room hotel is necessary to allow conventions to take an 800-room block, an industry standard, and leave extra rooms available for small groups or guests.
Spyridon says Portman has been interested in this project for three years and was a good choice for the job.
MDHA director Phil Ryan says the next steps are for the hotel developers to do the design work and MDHA to start buying up land for the convention center. Other steps include the city working on financing the convention center and the hotel developer to work on hotel financing. He says those steps will take several months.
The hotel will be built on property south of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Several local firms, including R.C. Mathews and Morgan & Morgan construction companies, Earl Swensson Associates architects and the Nashville office of Tower Investments will be part of the Portman development and construction team, Ryan says.

600450 Developers of New Convention Center Hotel Unveil Plans
Date: 22 June 2009

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