Clarksville, Tennessee (now Clarksville) — The company’s long-planned office complex, with two new hotels and a conference center, is set to move forward next year on Ted Crozier Boulevard, according to the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Board.
The project is set for a 69-acre plot northeast of Tennova Healthcare, listed as Site 27 on the EDC’s map of the Industrial Business Park.
While details of the project have yet to be announced, the site is expected to include two hotels, a conference center and up to 1 million square feet of office space to attract corporate entities looking for a new headquarters, according to EDC CEO Buck Dillinger, who spoke With Clarksville now about the project.
Dillinger described the million-square-foot goal as “ambitious.”
“I think we will be much, much less than that, but we will put as much business as possible in that area,” Dillinger said.
Another possibility is the creation of a new administrative facility for the Department of Veterans Affairs, although that project is still up in the air.
New conference center
Dillinger said the new convention center will likely be geared toward trade fairs and other corporate entities, with an emphasis on ballrooms and meeting spaces.
“You have rooms for people to come in and gather and mingle and communicate, and then they go to side rooms for performances,” Dillinger said. “You’re really not selling merchandise so much as exchanging ideas and listening to presentations.”
Dillinger said that conferences and interest-driven events, such as outdoor shows and trick-or-treat comedy events, would likely be better suited to the F&M Bank Arena under construction downtown.
The project has been in the works for a long time, but has been delayed in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has reduced the demand for convention centers.
“(COVID) has extended the schedule on that because convention centers aren’t really running, at least not as designed or as expected. They don’t even have conventions that attract conference seekers. Once a year, they should have a conference to host people. who would like to hold a conference,” Dillinger told Clarksville now. “The point is, we’ve been on a two-year hiatus.”
“Theresa Harrington might tell you that someone promised her a convention center for years,” Dillinger added.
Harrington, executive director of economic development at Visit Clarksville, agreed that the convention center has been on her wish list for 25 years.
“When I was hired, in a couple of years, they said they were going to build a convention center,” Harrington said. “Clarksville is the fifth largest city in Tennessee, and we don’t have a convention center. Anything we can do to bring large groups to Clarksville will just be an added bonus to us and our economy.”
Dillinger told members of the local Industrial Development Board at a December 8 meeting that he would be traveling to Chattanooga to meet with an investor for the project.
He now told Clarksville that he hopes to begin infrastructure work in the spring of 2022. This work will include preliminary survey and road access preparation.
The EDC is watching the market closely, Dillinger said, and once the agreements begin to come back and the EDC decides to move forward, construction is expected to take about two years.