Ryman Auditorium to undergo $14M expansion

New space to offer 'daytime tour attraction'

The Ryman Auditorium — which over the years has hosted thousands of artists representing various genres, including Bill Monroe, Keb Mo and Oasis — is slated for an approximately $14 million expansion and renovation of its 1994 addition, owner Ryman Hospitality Properties announced today.

The project is expected to break ground in late summer, with an opening targeted for June 2015. The addition will be located on the Fourth Avenue side of the building (see image below). The historic auditorium, restored in 1994 and the facade of which address Fifth Avenue, will remain unchanged and host a full calendar of events and tours throughout construction.

The expansion and renovation will “improve the Ryman Auditorium experience for both tour guests and concert attendees” and will include an event space featuring a “state-of-the-art daytime tour attraction,” Ryman official said in a release. The space will be available in the evenings for private functions.

Other planned amenities include a dedicated café space, enhanced food and beverage services throughout the building and an expanded retail area with interior and exterior access. Renovation plans also include a new box office, additional restroom facilities and larger lobbies.

Hastings Architecture Associates will handle design duties with R.C. Mathews Contractor to serve as the builder. Both are Nashville based.

“The Music City brand has never been more powerful than it is today,” Colin V. Reed, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Ryman Hospitality Properties, said in the release. “We strongly believe that we are at the very front end of a meteoric rise in both national and international tourism thanks largely to the ever-increasing popularity of country music and the Nashville television show. We are making this investment now so that the Ryman Auditorium is better equipped to accommodate the current and future demand we are seeing from both a tourism and concert attendance perspective.”

Sally Williams (pictured), general manager of the Ryman Auditorium and Opry Entertainment vice president of business and partnership development, credited Steve Buchanan, president of the Opry Entertainment Group, with the original expansion helping fuel the next update. 

“Just as Steve Buchanan and the company’s management team did in 1994 with the original Ryman Auditorium expansion and reopening, we are thoughtfully planning for the future of one of the most historic and revered places to hear and perform live music,” Williams  said. “The enhancements will dramatically improve the pre-and post-show experience and allow visitors to share in our 122-year history in ways that are not possible within our current space. With no renovations taking place in the historic auditorium, we expect little to no disruption in our operations throughout the construction phase, which we anticipate will be complete in time to welcome our guests during next year’s CMA Music Festival.”