Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and MLS2Nashville supporters touted the city's readiness for a Major League Soccer team on Monday while unveiling plans for a proposed MLS stadium.
According to a release from Mayor Barry, the proposed 27,500-seat stadium on the Nashville Fairgrounds will cost $250 million. Barry said 90 percent of the funding for the stadium will come from the MLS ownership group and revenues generated at the stadium.
The mayor broke the $250 million funding plan down to three main sources:
- $200 million in revenue bonds
- $25 million in cash from the MLS ownership group
- $25 million in Metro general obligation bonds to pay for public infrastructure associated with the stadium
The MLS ownership group will be responsible for lease payments for the facility used for debt service of the revenue bonds and covering any construction cost overruns.
“A Major League Soccer franchise represents an incredible opportunity for Nashville to continue its growth and take its place on the global stage,” Barry said. “This stadium plan and MLS bid represents significant private investment, and it safeguards taxpayers with a truly private-public partnership.”
The proposed site for the stadium is approximately 10 acres of land at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Mayor Barry said the land is underused and would support 'mixed-use, mixed income development which will include affordable and workforce housing.'
“This proposal honors all existing uses of the fairgrounds, and will pave the way for those groups and activities to grow and thrive,” Barry said. “John Ingram and his fellow investors are bringing significant private investment to the site. Overall, this plan will improve the fairgrounds and benefit future generations to come.”
MLS franchise supporters said a University of Tennessee study shows the MLS team and stadium would bring 1,886 new jobs and $77.7 million in new personal income to Nashville. Stadium construction and development would create 3,572 jobs and $139.2 million in new income, according to the study.
In addition to funding the stadium proposal, Mayor Barry said she is committed to improving the fairgrounds by rebuilding aging expo and fair facilities in addition to the $12 million already approved by the Mayor and Metro Council in fiscal year 16-17.
In order for the stadium proposal to move forward, the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners needs to approve a ground lease to the Metro Sports Authority in order to issue the revenue bonds.
The debt service would be approximately $13 million per year to be serviced by the lease payments, taxes for stadium revenues and private investment.
Mayor Barry's Office said the bonds would only be issued if an MLS franchise is awarded to Nashville.
View the full presentation here.