Music City Center impacts more small businesses than predicted - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Music City Center impacts more small businesses than predicted

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

More than two years ago, city officials rolled off some pretty big numbers for what the city's largest-ever public works project was expected to generate for minority businesses, when it comes to jobs.

They initially predicted the Music City Center would eventually give about $100 million worth of work to minority or women-owned businesses, and small businesses.

Now the final numbers are in, and it turns out the impact is even better than predicted.

The newest figures show $135 million worth of contracts have gone to small businesses, or companies owned by minorities or women.

"We're currently tracking at 30 percent, which is definitely above the 20 percent that the mayor was initially wanting to do for the entire project," said Roxianne Bethune, manager of diversity for the Music City Center.

Music City Center officials say minority-owned and small businesses each got about 11 percent of the work and women-owned businesses got 8 percent.

"The numbers even exceed our expectations, our goals and it's pretty exciting," said Metro finance director Rich Reibeling.

The city has made tremendous progress in minority contracting, says Metro Councilman Walter Hunt.

"Looking at them today, from when we built the stadium, it is a huge improvement," Hunt said.

In an interesting twist, at the Omni Hotel, across the street from the new convention center, the numbers are even better.

The Omni, which is not a government project, reports that 40 percent of its contracts have gone to disadvantaged businesses.

"I think it's great. One of the things I would say, is they are sort of piggybacking off the work that was done on the MCC project, to make that happen," Reibeling said.

Hiring at Music City Center has been a touchy issue. There were controversies over the fact that out-of-state companies were chosen for the concrete and steel work.

However, these new numbers show that, local or not, small businesses and women, or minority-owned companies landed more work than anticipated.

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