Two teams led by engineering and architectural firms with members based in Tennessee failed to win the facility programming contract for the new Nashville convention center. Local officials instead awarded the work to Orlando, Fla.-based Conventional Wisdom.

The company will work with Nashville-based Hawkins Partners Inc. and Mt. Juliet, Tenn.-based Connico Inc. during the programming phase.

Conventional Wisdom won the contract over the team of HNTB Architecture Inc. of Kansas City, Mo., and Looney Ricks Kiss of Memphis, and the team of LMN Architects of Seattle, ESa Inc. and Gould Turner Group, both of Nashville.

According to bid documents, Conventional Wisdom has performed similar services for several other projects, including the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago, the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta and Phoenix Civic Plaza.

In October, newly-elected Nashville Mayor Karl Dean urged MDHA to move forward with the convention center’s development. MDHA subsequently compiled data in a comprehensive report that outlines the steps necessary to make Nashville’s convention center more competitive with similar U. S. cities.

Design and construction contracts remain to be awarded.

“The contract for the actual design of the convention center will be awarded no later than July by our board of commissioners,” Woodmore says. Groundbreaking is expected in 2009 and completion by the end of 2012.