SBD/August 15, 2017/Facilities

Nashville MLS Bid Group Unveils Preliminary Renderings For 30,000-Seat Stadium

The group trying to bring MLS to Nashville yesterday "unveiled preliminary designs" for a 30,000-seat stadium that would "transform the aging Metro-owned Fairgrounds Nashville," according to a front-page piece by Joey Garrison of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Though the project "still lacks a cost figure and financing plan, the new conceptual renderings offer the first glimpse of the vision for professional soccer at the 117-acre fairgrounds" south of downtown. Nashville Soccer Club Holdings Chair John Ingram "presented the conceptual plans with other project leaders at a special Metro Council committee meeting." Ingram said, "Having a stadium that is approved by MLS is an absolutely essential part of ultimately being successful." Ingram was joined by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry's COO Rich Riebeling, who said that the mayor's office "hopes to finalize stadium financing negotiations with Ingram in 45 to 60 days and file legislation for a stadium deal by October." The stadium is "envisioned as a 'dual-purpose' facility" in case Vanderbilt wants to "move forward with a proposal to share the stadium with MLS and make it the new home of their football team." As a member of Vanderbilt's BOT, Ingram recently "recused himself from decision-making on Vanderbilt's end regarding the stadium." The 30,000-seat stadium would be "among the larger of the new soccer-specific MLS stadiums built in recent years." Operators of the state fair, which has "called the fairgrounds home for more than a century, started a process in June to explore moving outside of Nashville" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 8/15).

A FAMILIAR FACE: SI.com's Brian Straus noted architectural firm HOK, "familiar to MLS fans as the designer" of Avaya Stadium and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, "produced the renderings." Ingram stressed that the renderings are "preliminary" and intended to help launch the discussion he hopes will "lead to a groundbreaking." The stadium "eventually may be served" by a light rail-line. The Fairgrounds land is owned "entirely by the city and won’t require too much red tape, or a public vote, to transfer." Ingram said that the "nature of the partnership between club and city will be defined as more meetings are scheduled" (SI.com, 8/14).

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