Demolition begins on old Nashville Convention Center

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Demolition has begun on the old Nashville Convention Center at Fifth and Broadway.

Long before the Music City Center opened in 2013, and even before Bridgestone Arena opened its doors in 1996, the old convention center was considered one of the anchors of downtown Nashville. Many say the project was the beginning of the revitalization of downtown.

These days, Lower Broadway is known for its thriving tourism scene, but it wasn’t always like that, especially in what some would consider the not-so-good old days of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

(Photo: WKRN)

Rich Riebeling, Chief Operating Officer for Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, also worked for former Mayor Richard Fulton in the late 1970s and 80s.

Riebeling recalls Broadway in those days.

“It was like an adult entertainment district, just to be candid,” said Riebeling. “There were massage parlors and adult book stores. It was a really seedy place.”

Mayor Fulton had to fight to get the convention center built on the less-than-desirable Broadway.

“He wanted it to face on Broadway,” Riebeling said. “He saw that was going to be the future for the revitalization of downtown. And 30 years later, I think he was right.”

But 30 years later, the Nashville Convention Center is past its prime. It will take months for crews to tear the building down, making way for the new Fifth + Broadway development.

(Photo: WKRN)

The massive Fifth + Broadway mixed-use project will include apartments, office space, retail and entertainment, and the National Museum for African American Music.

At-large council member Erica Gilmore, who represented the downtown district for 8 years, says Fifth + Broadway could be the newest anchor of downtown.

“I think the momentum is there,” said Gilmore. “People see this last piece knocked off, we had to work with the Renaissance Hotel and work those pieces out. So now it’s finally coming to fruition. And we’re very excited about it.”

Below is a list of traffic closures that will be in place throughout construction:

Broadway

  • All travel lanes will remain open.
  • The traffic lanes on Broadway will be restriped, starting at the intersection of Fifth Avenue extending to Sixth Avenue.
  • The parking lane adjacent to Bridgestone Arena will be re-striped to facilitate the eastbound travel lane.
  • Construction crews will install a protected pedestrian walkway along the north side of Broadway.

Commerce Street

  • A segment of the eastbound travel lane between Fifth and Sixth avenues will be closed.
  • Two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane will remain open.
  • The sidewalk on the south side between Sixth and Fifth avenues will be closed.
  • Pedestrians will be directed to utilize the sidewalk on the north side.

Fifth Avenue

  • The southbound lane adjacent to the Fifth + Broadway site will be closed.
  • The sidewalk adjacent to the Fifth + Broadway site will be closed.
  • Pedestrians will be directed to utilize the sidewalk on the east side.
  • The two northbound lanes will remain open.