Sommet Concert Hall Proposal

Nashville city officials are looking closely at an investor group’s plan that would include turning the Sommet Center’s 13,000-square-foot rehearsal hall into a concert venue.

The investor group, led by businessman David Freeman, is currently negotiating to buy the Nashville Predators hockey team from owner Craig Leipold. If the group’s bid is successful, it would take over operations at the 20,000-capacity Sommet Center and convert the rehearsal hall at an estimated cost of $2 million as part of an arena upgrade.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is reportedly willing to support the plan with the city council’s approval, according to the Tennessean.

"Building out the rehearsal hall would add another music venue downtown and be another source of revenue to counter the expense of running the Sommet Center," Dean spokeswoman Janet Lacy told the paper.

Sommet Center GM Hugh Lombardi confirmed to Pollstar the 10-year-old plain, concrete-walled facility was rented for 116 dates in the last fiscal year for a variety of events.

"We pretty much have every major act in Nashville rehearsing there but we also do other types of events," Lombardi said. "[We’ve hosted] the media during SEC or NCAA tournaments, parties, video shoots for different acts and we’ve housed circus animals in it. It’s really a multipurpose room."

At press time Leipold had extended the deadline for Freeman’s group to close the deal on the Predators, according to the Tennessean. Meanwhile, Freeman’s group is also in discussions with city officials about changes to the Predators’ arena lease.

The proposed 3,000- to 4,000-seat venue would be an added tour stop in a market that includes the Sommet’s 5,100-capacity scaled-down arena setup, 2,362-capacity Ryman Auditorium, 4,400-capacity Grand Ole Opry House and 9,432-capacity Nashville Municipal Auditorium.