Proposed Lease Terms for Nashville MLS Stadium Development Released

Nashville MLS stadium rendering

With Nashville Metro officials set to debate the proposal, lease terms for a mixed-use development next to a Nashville MLS stadium have been released.

The new Nashville MLS stadium is slated for The Fairgrounds Nashville, and will house an MLS expansion team that was awarded in December of last year. It is being constructed as part of project that will include mixed-use development, as the club’s owners are seeking to lease 10-acres of land adjacent to the stadium and use the site for a slate of amenities.

The land lease for that development is one of several crucial components that needs approval in order for stadium plans to be finalized. Under a proposal submitted to the Metro Council by mayor David Briley‘s administration on Friday, the MLS club owners would enter into an agreement for the development that calls for them to pay at least $200,000 annually over a 30-year lease. The club’s ownership and Nashville would split parking revenue generated by non-MLS events at the stadium, helping to offset the rent payment. More from the Tennessean:

The city would declare the fairgrounds property surplus under the ordinance. The team would pay the city “a minimum” of $200,000 annually, which would equal at least $6 million over 30 years. The ground lease itself would be for 99 years.

The team would still collect all parking revenue generated by MLS games. But the new ground lease proposal calls for the team to now split proceeds from non-soccer events at the stadium with the fairgrounds. This portion would offset the team’s rent payment to the city.

Briley spokesman Michael Cass said that if the amount of the shared fairgrounds’ portion of revenue is more than $200,000, then the fairgrounds will get that larger amount instead of the base rent.

The team, led by billionaire businessman John Ingram, owner of Nashville Soccer Club, is planning a mix of up to 900 units of residential units, a hotel, and retail around the new soccer stadium as part of the transformed fairgrounds project.

The development has been a controversial component of the project, with some questioning whether the ownership group should be able to profit from leasing public land. The club, however, has countered that the development will provide a better gameday experience.

Last November, the Metro Council approved $225 million in bonding for a new MLS stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville. That was a major accomplishment for the Nashville MLS expansion bid, led by John Ingram, and ultimately played a part in the league’s approval of Nashville’s pitch in December. However, the issuing of those bonds is contingent upon the completion of several stadium-related agreements that still need to be finalized. Briley’s administration is filing four pieces of legislation with the council–including the lease for the development, the demolition of existing buildings on the stadium site along with the implementation of a $1.75 ticket tax, rezoning, and $50 million in general obligation bonds for related expenses such as infrastructure improvements and new fairgrounds buildings. The administration is working to have final approval of those proposals by September 4.

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