Ribbon-cutting ceremony held for Music City Center - FOX Carolina 21

Ribbon-cutting ceremony held for Music City Center

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Mayor Karl Dean hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Music City Center on Monday morning at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Demonbreun Street. 

Free musical performances by Phil Vassar, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill later in the evening were open to the public.

The $585 million convention center opened its doors to the public on Sunday for the first day of a two-day grand opening celebration.

The 1.2 million square-foot building, the most expensive public project in Nashville history, has been under construction since 2010.

Dean said that the facility will help bring more visitors to Music City. 

"One of the things you've got to remember is Nashville, before this center opens, has been setting hotel records for occupancy," Dean said during a media tour Wednesday.  "We have been setting records for collection of hotel-motel tax for several years now even during the recession.  People want to come to this city."

The Music City Center covers 16 acres of land.  The exhibition hall alone measures eight acres and  350,000 square feet.  Other design features include a 57,000 square-foot grand ballroom, 18,000 square-foot junior ballroom and a loading dock capable of handling 32 semi-trucks simultaneously.

Dean expects the new convention center to transform the area south of Broadway in the years to come.

"This whole area south of us is going to be a different place five years from now," Dean said.  "Ten years from now it won't be recognizable to us."

Music City Center CEO Charles Starks said some groups have booked conventions at the site several years in advance.

"We've got about 110 brand new customers that are already booked going out to 2026 right now," Starks said.

A three-level garage, which can hold 1,800 vehicles, was also built at the site.

Future Expansion?

City leaders are already looking at expanding if the building outperforms projections.

Possible options include building close to the Bridgestone Arena or on a 12-acre site along Eighth Avenue where the United Methodist Publishing House is located. 

Other options for expansion include between 5th and 8th avenues or building on top of the current structure.

Click here for the Music City Center grand opening schedule of events.

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