NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gaylord Entertainment Co. (GET) said it plans to greatly enhance its Opryland properties with new developments including Opry Mills, a $200 million entertainment/retail complex.
In a press release, the company said it expects Opry Mills to attract at least 17 million visitors annually. It said Opry Mills will be built on the existing Opryland complex in partnership with Mills Corp., Arlington, Va., under terms of a letter of agreement, which is subject to zoning approvals and other governmental considerations.
The company said the Opryland enhancements will be phased in over five years, with the first of the incremental openings expected in the spring of 2000. The project includes the following:
The Opryland theme park will close following this season’s presentation of Christmas in the Park. In its place, about 40 of the present 65 acres devoted to the park will be redeployed for development of new attractions concepts, which are expected to open in 2000.
The Grand Ole Opry, symbolized by the Opry House and the Opry Plaza, will become the centerpiece of the enhanced properties with internal access and roadways redesigned to maximize visibility and accessibility.
The Cumberland Landing area adjacent to the Cumberland River will be expanded to include themed dining and entertainment to complement the General Jackson showboat, the Opryland River Taxis and the natural beauty of the river;
The new 1.1 million-square-foot Opry Mills complex will combine themed restaurants, casual dining and entertainment venues with 15-20 anchor stores and a selection of more than 200 retail stores.
It said the 125,000-square-foot Nashville Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, originally scheduled for construction at a site just off Briley Parkway and McGavock Pike, will be relocated to become a key anchor in the new Opry Mills entertainment/retail complex.
It said the closing of the Opryland theme park is expected to result in the elimination of about 275 full-time jobs, representing about 5% of the full-time work force of Gaylord Entertainment. It said it will take a non-recurring non-cash charge of about $30 million to $35 million, net of taxes, in the fourth quarter. This charge will be primarily attributable to the write-off of the majority of the park’s fixed assets, as well as severance charges and related employee benefits.