Gaylord Opryland Clean-up Underway

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Nashville, TN – Clean-up of the flooded Gaylord Opryland was well underway May 7, and company leaders were confident the Nashville hotel and convention center would be back in business by the end of the year.

Water from the Cumberland River was being pumped out of the basement areas and more than 500 workers were removing mud, hauling out soaked materials and placing dehumidifiers around the hotel. The sales staff continued working with organizers of events to relocate them to other Gaylord properties or to other venues in the Nashville area. Gaylord is honoring the terms of contracts signed for Opryland at their other properties.

Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment, said he was optimistic repairs would proceed relatively quickly and could be completed by the end of Summer or in the Fall. “It is still too early to tell what the exact timetable will be,” he said on a May 7 conference call with investors and analysts.

Reed said the public areas of the hotel that were flooded – including the exhibit areas – had large amounts of hard surfaces, such as brick and marble, which would dry quickly. He also said wet drywall, carpeting and other materials would be replaced relatively quickly. “I am a lot more optimistic now about the speed at which we can bring these assets back,” Reed said. “I really don’t think we are going to be ripping out a lot of stuff.”

The biggest question mark facing Gaylord is the damage done to the facility’s utility systems, which are concentrated in the flooded subterranean areas. Electrical wiring, telecommunications and heating-and-air conditioning equipment likely suffered some degree of damage. Services such as the hotel laundry, room service kitchens and call centers were also out of service. “We are just now getting access to them to see how bad the damage is,” said David Kloeppel, president and COO.

Reed said the flood affected approximately 800,000 square feet of a complex that totals four million square feet. Of more than 2,990 guest rooms, 117 were flooded. The hotel’s well-appointed ballrooms escaped damage as well.

Reach Colin Reed at (615) 316-6000 or creed@gaylordentertainment.com; David Kloeppel at (615) 316-6000 or dkloeppel@gaylordentertainment.com