Newly renovated Renasant Convention Center in Memphis experiencing electrical issues

Newly renovated Renasant Convention Center in Memphis experiencing electrical issues
Newly renovated Renasant Convention Center in Memphis experiencing electrical issues(Source: WMC)
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 9:50 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The bright lights that welcome you to Memphis as you drive across the I-40 bridge from Arkansas aren’t so bright most nights.

Just seven months after the newly remodeled Renasant Convention Center reopened, the signage atop the gleaming structure has major electrical problems.

The convention center opened in 1968. A massive $216 million renovation started before the pandemic in 2019 and continued through it. Renamed the Renasant Convention Center, the facility reopened in February 2021. But a point of pride and a critical point of contact are both malfunctioning.

“It’s been quite upsetting because it’s been a continual issue since we reopened,” said Dean Dennis, general manager of the Renasant Convention Center. “We’re having some issues and we’re not exactly sure what the cause is. We continue to explore it.”

Both signs on the west side of the building, the one that says “Renasant Convention Center” and the “Memphis” sign, are experiencing problems.

“We talked to the manufacturer, the installers, and the contractor,” said Dennis. “We have warranty claims in, and all those things you do. But it’s one of those bugs in the new building that we just haven’t quite got all fixed yet.”

The lights looked impressive last fall when the signage debuted. But they’ve been problematic ever since the renovated facility officially re-opened in February. Another major snag is the phones don’t work.

“The phones are a problem with some software that was corrupted during construction,” said Dennis. “And so, the software somehow got dirty and corrupted and we can’t get it to work again.”

Dennis said supply chain issues have majorly delayed the install of the new phone system.

“I can’t think of any project I’ve been involved with that doesn’t have glitches,” Dennis said.

And he should know. His specialty is opening up new convention centers and arenas. He did it in Pueblo, Colorado, Owensboro, Kentucky, and Atlantic City. Now in Memphis, where pricey projects like the Pyramid and Beale Street Landing had cost overrun and quality control issues, Dennis said don’t worry. The Renasant Convention Center, he promised, will shine brightly.

“I hope they don’t just pick on one sign and think, you know, the sky is falling because of one sign,” said Dennis. “It’s a wonderful project and Memphians are going to be very proud of it and should be very proud of it.”

Dennis said the cost of replacing the phone system will be covered in the operating budget. No new capital funds will have to be spent.

The convention center hosted its first event in February, a volleyball tournament. It hosts its biggest client yet, the AutoZone annual meeting with 3,000 attendees, next week.

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