|By Bonna Johnson, The Tennessean,
NashvilleMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 08, 2011--Gaylord Entertainment plans to spend $12 million to increase the height of the levee that protects the Opryland Hotel to a 500-year level, Gaylord CEO and Chairman Colin Reed said during an earnings call this morning.
Construction will begin this spring and should wrap up in spring of 2012. The company said the design would be "aesthetically pleasing and sensitive to adjacent property owners."
The private levee that runs the length of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center complex had been built to a 100-year level and failed to keep the Cumberland River from spilling into parts of the hotel and the Grand Ole Opry House in May. The hotel closed for six months before reopening in mid-November.
The higher levee will help the company raise its flood insurance coverage while substantially reducing the annual premium, Reed said. The hotel had just $50 million in flood coverage. The net impact of the flood was $150 million after insurance proceeds and tax refunds.
Construction of Gaylord's bigger levee appears to be moving ahead of a community levee plan, which Reed had hoped would develop more quickly.
Financial loss widens
The company also reported that its fourth-quarter loss widened to $32.8 million versus a loss of $600,000 a year ago, but executives said the company is in a "good position" with the reopening of Opryland and an upswing in advance bookings.
The company reported revenue of $213.3 million, a decrease of 13.5 percent in the fourth quarter from $246.6 million last year.
Opryland Hotel reported revenue of $37.7 million and an operating loss of $27.8 million from its mid-November reopening to the end of the year.
Gaylord's loss from continuing operations was $32.5 million in the fourth quarter, including $23.6 million in preopening costs associated with efforts to reopen Opryland and other Gaylord attractions after the flood.
To see more of The Tennessean, go to http://www.tennessean.com/.
Copyright (c) 2011, The Tennessean, Nashville
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