Light It Up: Neon Omni May Be Just The Beginning For Nashville Skyline

The Nashville Omni is now one of the more prominently lit buildings in downtown Nashville. It opened Sept. 30 and is the primary convention center hotel for the new Music City Center. Credit: roggphotos1 via Flickr

The Nashville Omni is now one of the more prominently lit buildings in downtown Nashville. It opened Sept. 30 and is the primary convention center hotel for the new Music City Center. Credit: roggphotos1 via Flickr

The lights of Lower Broadway are beginning to bleed into other parts of downtown Nashville. The newly opened Omni Hotel is draped in a rainbow, and more neon is on the way. 

Omni has gained attention in the company’s hometown of Dallas for turning its hotel there into what is practically a video billboard.

“It’s been really fun,” says Anne Tramer, Omni vice president of communications. “It’s added an element of surprise in Dallas to the skyline, so we wanted to do it here as well.”

The Nashville Omni is comparatively toned down. Lighting atop the 21-story hotel changes colors gradually or can be programmed to promote an event.

Mayor Karl Dean says he’s glad businesses are considering the impact of lighting on the cityscape.

“Part of the charm and appeal of any downtown is what it looks like at night,” he told WPLN in a written statement. “Thoughtful, location-appropriate lighting plays a role in creating ambiance and character.”

Several city-funded projects under the Dean administration have included dramatic lighting, including the Fifth Avenue of the Arts and a glowing elevator shaft on the Shelby Street Walking Bridge.

Hannah Paramore says economic development officials encouraged her to get creative with her technology firm’s new Church Street office. A $20,000 lit-up logo allows people passing by to change the color by downloading a free smartphone app.

“They might think we’re a night club when they see all of the different colorful signs,” Paramore says with a laugh. “But what I think it does for our company is raise the profile so that people know we’re serious players.”

Paramore’s signage is being installed by Joslin & Son Signs, which is responsible for much of the neon downtown. Owner Bobby Joslin says the city could stand to give the skyline a little more glow as a way to make the city feel “bigger and more vibrant.”

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