After months of deliberation and going through the different stages of Nashville’s government, the Nashville Metro Council has approved the $2.1 billion Titans Stadium deal in a final vote, 26-12, early Wednesday morning (April 26).
The vote was Metro Council’s third, and allowed citizens to voice their opinions and concerns about the massive, publicly-funded undertaking on Tuesday night, pushing the council meeting into the early hours of today.
“For more than 25 years, Nashville, Tennessee, has been the Titans’ home, and with the approval of the new stadium agreement, we are grateful to know the Titans will be a part of this great city and state for decades to come,” says Titans Controlling Owner Amy Adams Strunk. “I remember the early days of our time here feeling all the promise and opportunity ahead, and I feel that same enthusiasm and excitement again today. We are thankful for the support of Mayor Cooper, Metro Council, the Sports Authority, the State of Tennessee, and most importantly, the people of Nashville and Tennessee as we all embark on this new chapter together.”
As it stands, ready to be signed into law, the stadium will be paid for in three parts. The state will pay $500 million in bonds with the Titans and the NFL paying around $840 million and the remaining $760 million being paid by Metro government via a stadium sales tax, downtown campus sales tax and a county-wide hotel occupancy tax.
“Tonight’s final approval of the new stadium agreement allows Nashville to move forward with the revitalization of the East Bank riverfront that East Nashville neighborhoods have been demanding for more than 40 years,” says Metro Nashville Council Member Brett Withers. “We can now replace an aging, 100 percent taxpayer-supported stadium with a new facility that is funded primarily by the team, by visitors to our city and by new revenues arising from campus development that is not possible under the old lease.
“During extensive community engagement that shaped the East Bank Vision Plan, which the Planning Commission unanimously adopted in October of 2022, neighbors who were still learning about the stadium question itself definitively agreed that the prospect of centering the planned Central Waterfront neighborhood not around the current, aging stadium but rather around a new park and multimodal street designed for transit was the better outcome for the future of our thriving city. Relocating the stadium closer to the interstate makes sense for a lot of reasons, but replacing the current stadium with a central community gathering space incorporating green stormwater technology and surrounded by mixed uses including affordable housing is chief among them.”
The stadium agreement includes a new 30-year lease and non-relocation agreement between the Titans and the Sports Authority. The terms of the new agreement remove the current obligation of Nashville’s General Fund to maintain and upgrade the stadium and returns 66 acres of land to the City of Nashville previously restricted by parking lots through 2039. The city has announced plans to include the returned property in the creation of a new neighborhood set along Nashville’s Cumberland River. The neighborhood, through new revenue sources generated by its development, is projected to bring in over a billion dollars to Nashville’s General Fund during its first 30 years of development.
The team will also contribute nearly $48 million over the life of the lease to the Nashville Needs Impact Fund, a fund directed by the Metro Council to support city needs such as public education, public transit, affordable housing and several other areas.
“Tonight is a huge win for Nashville taxpayers,” says Nashville Mayor John Cooper. “We’ve eliminated a billion-dollar liability created by an aging stadium lease and created a platform for the city to thrive for decades. This was always about more than football. This vote unlocks the East Bank Vision for Nashville’s next generation. It enables a true smart growth plan for the decades ahead. It will expand our transit network, create affordable housing, build parks and civic space, activate the waterfront, and drive resilience and sustainability.
The stadium is currently estimated at 1.75 million square feet, with a capacity of approximately 60,000. It is anticipated to bring in year-round events, with aspirations to host Super Bowls, NCAA Final Fours, College Football Playoffs, Wrestlemanias and more. It will also continue to host Tennessee State University (TSU) home football games, extending the long-standing partnership between TSU and the Titans. The stadium will include a 12,000 square foot community space to host classes for local schools, job trainings and other community-minded events.
“The Sports Authority is appreciative of all the hard work and due diligence that has gone into vetting this stadium project,” says Metro Nashville Sports Authority Chair Cathy Bender. “We believe the East Bank stadium project is the right deal for our city and look forward to moving into the next phase with the Tennessee Titans.”
Groundbreaking is expected to occur in early-to-mid 2024, with an opening anticipated in 2027. It will set a goal of achieving a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold certification. Titans games and other major events will continue to operate in the current Nissan Stadium until the new building opens.
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