Apr 25, 2023 - News

Final vote for proposed indoor Titans stadium set for Tuesday

Illustration of Nashville City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Metro Council is expected to decide the fate of Mayor John Cooper's proposed $2.1 billion indoor Titans stadium at a special meeting Tuesday night.

What they're saying: In advance of the decisive vote, we asked one supporter and one opponent to explain their stances.

✅ Metro Councilmember Kevin Rhoten: "It is my opinion the financing of the new stadium through revenue bonds and removing the property tax debt obligation on Nissan Stadium for the citizens of Davidson County is the main reason to support the new stadium deal. The majority of the new stadium financing is paid by the state, the Titans, and those using the stadium. We know the improvements to Nissan Stadium over the coming years will be close to $1 billion, if not more.

  • "We are contractually obligated to make these improvements to Nissan. This new stadium deal takes those that don't use the stadium almost entirely out of the picture."

❌ Metro Councilmember Emily Benedict: "My concerns continue to mount. From the latest details about making the new stadium a gambling hall, to the previous concerns that the public wants us to slow down this decision (we've had the contract for just a few weeks), in addition to never having received a valid analysis of the cost to fulfill our contract for the current stadium, we simply don't have enough information. There is no harm in slowing this down; there is plenty of time in our current contract to go slower."

If you go: Prior to Tuesday night's vote, council will set aside time for members of the public to express their thoughts on the deal.

  • Benedict tells Axios she hopes council members opposing the deal skip Tuesday's meeting in order to prevent a quorum and delay the vote.

Cooper's plan dedicates a 1% hotel room tax, sales tax collected within the building and 50% of the sales tax from the surrounding mixed-use development to pay for the stadium, its future upgrades and some infrastructure costs. The Titans are contributing $840 million, and the state is allocating $500 million in bonds.

  • Supporters say the plan rids the city of its expensive obligations at Nissan Stadium and sets the city up to host preeminent tourism events. They argue the building will be funded by fans, tourists and shoppers in the surrounding mixed-use development and not the general taxpayer.
  • Opponents say that once infrastructure and the broader East Bank redevelopment plan are added in, the city is on the hook for well more than its share of the stadium costs. Critics question the city and state's value system to move financial heaven and earth for a football field when major needs like public education, affordable housing and transit are underfunded.

Also: The Titans will be responsible for all construction cost overruns. The team will also pay the remaining $30 million debt for Nissan Stadium and forgive $35 million owed by the city under the current lease for completed improvements and maintenance.

  • The Titans will sign a minimum 30-year lease, and return 66 acres where Nissan Stadium sits for the city to use for the new East Bank boulevard, affordable housing and other infrastructure.
  • The Titans are also partnering with the city for a $47 million philanthropic investment fund.

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