Terms Reached for Nashville MLS Stadium Community Benefits Agreement

Nashville MLS stadium rendering

It was announced on Monday that most terms have been reached for a Nashville MLS stadium community benefits agreement, putting the deal one step closer to completion. 

Set to be between the John Ingram-led MLS group and the organization Stand Up Nashville–which includes labor unions and other community interests–the community benefits agreements would call for several key stipulations. That includes guaranteed affordable housing and a child care center in a 10-acre mixed-use development adjacent to the proposed stadium, along with a $15.50 per hour minimum wage for stadium operations employees.

The agreement has not been finalized yet, but that is expected to happen in the coming days. In order for the proposed MLS stadium at The Faigrounds Nashville to become a reality, several pieces of legislation will require the approval of the Nashville Metro Council. Mayor David Briley’s administration is working to have those measures approved by September 4, making this a crucial stretch for a proposed facility that is slated to be home to a Nashville MLS expansion club. While the community benefits agreement is a private arrangement involving the MLS group and Stand Up Nashville, its completion has been seen as crucial to gaining support for final approval of the stadium project. More from the Tennessean:

The two sides, in a letter to the council Monday and co-signed by both parties, outlined points of agreement on guaranteed affordable housing, community services like child care, $15.50 wages for stadium workers, and a committee that will oversee the goals of the agreement.

The joint statement, which urges the council to approve pending legislation needed for the proposed stadium at the city’s fairgrounds, followed months of meetings that continued into Monday afternoon.

It was released two hours before the council was set to hold a public hearing and vote on a controversial proposal to rezone 10 acres of fairgrounds land for a private development next to the stadium.

“Today, we are pleased to announce that we have come to agreement on the majority of the terms and fully expect to finalize the community benefits agreement formal document this week,” the letter co-signed by Mary Cavarra of Nashville Soccer Holdings and Anne Barnett of Stand Up Nashville reads.

On Monday, the Metro Council voted by a 20-9 margin to move forward with a proposal to rezone 10 acres next to the stadium site for the mixed-use development. That came on the second of three readings, meaning that the proposal will go in front of the council again on September 4.

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, 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 has filed those 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 for the development, and $50 million in general obligation bonds for related expenses such as infrastructure improvements and new fairgrounds buildings.

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