Sep 25, 2023 - News

Freddie O'Connell turns focus to East Bank

A rendering showing people on a redeveloped East Bank.

A rendering of the proposed East Bank redevelopment: Image: Courtesy of the Metro Planning Department

Mayor-elect Freddie O'Connell won his new job, in part, by touting his opposition to the new $2.1 billion Titans stadium.

Why it matters: Now that he's in the corner office on the first floor of the courthouse, O'Connell will go about the work of ensuring the stadium and surrounding East Bank redevelopment project are successful.

State of play: The Titans financing is already in place, with the Sports Authority approving the issuance of $760 million in bonds in July.

What's next: O'Connell's administration will negotiate the contract with The Fallon Company and then seek approval of the deal with the Metro Council.

What we're watching: Key negotiation points will be how much of the infrastructure bill Metro covers and how much affordable housing is included in the deal. In its winning bid, The Fallon Company asked for $230 million in public funding for parking and other infrastructure costs.

  • The firm is proposing 1,095 out of 1,590 housing units are affordable. But those numbers are just starting points.

Plus: Once the East Bank deal is approved, stakeholders will turn their attention south to the PSC Metals property. It doesn't make sense for a redeveloped riverfront to be bordered by a massive and ugly scrap metal yard.

  • But the last several Nashville mayors failed to relocate PSC because it is a complicated and expensive proposition.

What he's saying: O'Connell is a planning wonk, and the fine points of the Imagine East Bank master plan — like a transit hub, bike lanes, green space and affordable housing — are right in his wheelhouse.

  • "Now we negotiate," O'Connell tells Axios. "OK, they've come to the table with some targets for affordable housing. How do we put those into a concrete deal?"
  • "There are just a lot of details to work out before we can meaningfully bring something to council. This is where you think in 25- to 100-year terms about what will be great over there?"
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