The cost of Nashville's largest-ever construction project just went $15 million over-budget.

A jury awarded the owner of a piece of property that was taken for the Music City Center $30.4 million, an amount that's twice what the city budgeted.

Tower Investments owned a parking lot that was condemned by MDHA for the new convention center.

For two years, Tower and the city have been fighting in court over what the land was worth.

A Davidson County jury decided Friday afternoon they agreed with Tower's appraiser, who said the land was worth more than $30 million.

The land, Tower's lawyer said during the trial, was the "Rolls-Royce" of vacant downtown property.

"This is the site that trumps all others," said Alton Burkhalter, Tower's attorney.

MDHA said the appraisal figure was inflated; that Tower was trying to make a big profit off land it had only owned for three years.

"He has not made a convincing case that Tower's property has skyrocketed in value like the Tower folks are claiming," said Brian Jackson, MDHA's attorney.

MDHA argued the land was worth only $ 14.8 million and that Tower was a greedy company.

The jury didn't buy it. They awarded tower $30.4 million, exactly the amount Tower's appraiser said it was worth.

"It's unfortunate that MDHA budgeted too little for the property," said Alex Marks, speaking for Tower.

Jurors told Channel 4 that Tower proved its case.

"I didn't think it was more of a greedy company trying to make a profit. I think it was a business move. It was a great business move," one juror told Channel 4.

Now, the Music city Center is way over budget -- it'll have to pay $15 million more than it planned for this land. That cost is not in the budget of the project.

The spokesperson for the Music City Center, Holly McCall, said they'll have to do some number crunching. McCall said the Convention Center Authority will meet with the management team to assess the impact on the budget.

Copyright 2011 WSMV. All rights reserved.



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