VOL. 133 | NO. 99 | Thursday, May 17, 2018
Memphis to Rebid Cook Convention Center Project
By Bill Dries
The city will be rebidding the $175 million renovation of the Memphis Cook Convention Center, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Tuesday, May 15.
The rebid follows bids in March that came in above the $175 million the city plans to spend on the interior and exterior overhaul of the convention center that turned 44 years old this month.
“We can only spend what we got. So we are going to rebid it and see where we go from there,” Strickland said when asked when the renovations would begin. “Unfortunately, it’s going to be delayed several months because of that.”
The Memphis City Council approved $175 million in general obligation bond financing March 6 for the renovation, which will include significant changes to the interior of the facility and exterior changes that include a view of the Mississippi River.
The money for the renovation is to be paid with revenue from the city’s hotel-motel tax and revenue from the Downtown Tourism Development Fund. The administration opted to forego revenue bonds and use general obligation bonds, citing savings to the city.
Speaking to the Memphis Rotary Club at Clayborn Temple, Strickland said Tuesday he is working on a new full-time position in his administration that would essentially be a trouble-shooter for site consultants and others looking at local economic development projects.
Much of that work is being done by chief operating officer Doug McGowen now.
Strickland told the crowd of 100 he is working on “how to stand up another office to do that full time.” He also cited the need to have someone “on the ground who cuts red tape.”
“We will probably have somebody else who reports to Doug,” Strickland said later. “Being chief operating officer is a big chore in and of itself. And Doug is a superman. … I think it would be good if he had someone who reported to him who could go to meetings and really speak for city government.”