NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Leaders of Nashville's convention center already are mapping out a possible future expansion of a center that spans six downtown blocks and sits on 19 acres.

The Tennessean ( ) reports that project leaders of Nashville's Music City Center are identifying which adjoining lots would best accommodate an add-on, in case the center is so successful that it isn't big enough.

As part of a master plan, planners have identified five options where future expansion could feasibly work.

Those include the city's Bridgestone Arena land, three private properties and the preferred option — building atop the existing center.

Barry Long, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates, which led the master plan's creation, said cities nationwide typically know whether their convention centers will require future expansions within an eight- to 10-year window after they open.

The exhibit hall, ballrooms and meeting rooms at Music City Center total 1.2 million square feet. Its overall square footage, which includes a massive parking garage, is 2.1 million, placing it somewhere in the 20s among convention centers nationwide, officials say.

Project officials are confident Music City Center is the right size to attract new conventions to Nashville, but that hasn't stopped brainstorming.

"We wanted to look at the options so we know down the road, as the city considers redevelopment of those sites, where the opportunities to expand Music City Center are," Long said. "None of them are a slam dunk. They all have pros and cons."

Ideally, future expansion could occur by way of the existing footprint, the report said. It calls that scenario the most cost effective.

The other city-owned lot is the Bridgestone site, which could become available if the city were to build a new arena.

Other possibilities identified for expansion in the form of a future exhibition or conference center are: directly west of the center on a 12-acre site, south within a "series of parcels," totaling four to nine acres and north of the center on land owned by First Baptist Church that a developer is under contract to acquire.

To its east, the center is blocked from expansion by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and its adjoining Omni Hotel.


Information from: The Tennessean,