Nov 8, 2022 - Politics

Metro Council members question stadium estimate

Illustration of Nashville City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Metro Council members grilled a city consultant Monday over its assessment of the cost to maintain and renovate Nissan Stadium.

Driving the news: As the city considers a plan to build a $2.1 billion indoor stadium for the Titans, council members want a comparable price tag for the cost of renovating Nissan Stadium instead.

  • Venue Solutions Group concluded it would cost $1.87 billion through 2039. But council members criticized the report, saying it was an analysis of the Titans' stadium renovation proposal instead of an examination of the least amount the city could spend under the Nissan lease.
  • Meanwhile, a report by a consultant for the Titans found it would cost the city $1.8 billion.

Why it matters: The critical questions during the East Bank Stadium Committee hearing paint the picture of a skeptical council, which Mayor John Cooper's administration must convince to approve the financing plan.

Details: Councilmember Courtney Johnston told VSG executives, "We have no idea what's a need and what's a want — what we're obligated to (pay for, versus) what we want to be nice and shiny and cool."

  • Councilmember Colby Sledge pointed out during the meeting that other NFL cities are pondering major stadium renovations with price tags between $800 million and $1.2 billion, specifically mentioning the stadiums in Jacksonville, Florida; Baltimore; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Cleveland.

Yes, but: The Cooper administration has argued that the current lease obligations, whatever the dollar figure might be, must be paid out of the city's operating budget.

  • For the proposed new stadium, Cooper wants to use a 1% hotel room tax, sales tax collected within the building and sales tax collected from the surrounding commercial development. He says tourists, fans and people spending money in the nearby businesses will pay for the stadium and not the general taxpayer.

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