Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gaylord deflates damage speculation

Over the next two weeks, Gaylord officials expect to have a damage estimate, long-term plan for their employees and a better sense of how long it will take to reopen the flooded Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
Damages could be $50 million or $100 million, said Colin Reed, CEO and chairman of Gaylord Entertainment, but not anywhere near the $300 million to $400 million that has been speculated. The company has a $50 million flood insurance policy for the hotel.

"The most heartbreaking thing is you walk through the buildings and feel like the soul has been taken out of them," said David Kloeppel, Gaylord president and chief operating officer, during a news conference outside the hotel on Friday.

Reed said he has assured investors that the damage and repairs to get up and running won't drag into 2011. "We will be up and functioning by the end of the year," Reed said. Reopening could occur anywhere from August to November. For at least the next two weeks, however, the hotel company won't take reservations for any stays or conventions through the end of October.

RelatedIn Nashville, cost of flood is $1.5 billion and risingHeck or high water can't knock WSM off the airTourism officials fight to keep conventionsOpry Mills still closed; piranha escape reports falseGaylord’s stock takes a bounce higher this morning on Wall StreetAerial scenes of Nashville area floodingNashville landmarks floodedPost-flood cleanup beginsNashville Flood 2010Opryland Hotel flood damageComplete coverage of Nashville flooding

Here are some other key updates about the property:

• Of 4 million square feet of space in the hotel, about 800,000 square feet flooded, including 65,000 square feet of exhibit halls and loading areas; 41,000 square feet of carpeted meeting rooms; and 210,000 square feet in the hotel's garden-filled atriums.

• Only 117 guest rooms of nearly 2,900 in the vast resort got flooded, all in the property's Delta area.

• The resort's 4,000 employees will receive full pay and benefits for at least six weeks. "What we don't want is to see our folks migrate off and go to work elsewhere," Reed said. They could also be a part of some cleanup operations and other preparations to reopen.

• The WSM broadcast station was damaged and has temporarily relocated in a small studio in Brentwood. Two feet of water washed over the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, leaving a film of mud.

Contact Bonna Johnson at 615-726-5990 or

Opryland crippled; tourism hurtCan You Feel the Optimism Shift in Builder Mentality?