NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Mayor John Cooper and Nashville Soccer Club lead owner John Ingram announced Thursday morning they have reached an agreement on an amendment to the future soccer stadium to be built at the Fairgrounds Nashville.
According to a statement from Cooper’s office, under the terms of the revised deal, the team has agreed to fund 100-percent of stadium construction with private dollars through cash investment, stadium lease payments and revenues generated at the stadium by attendees of events. Cooper and Ingram have also agreed to a statement of principles including open space between the soccer stadium and the historic speedway.
The demolition process will begin immediately, the city said.
The mayor’s office said the revised deal eliminates taxpayer and budget burden for stadium construction while keeping in place the first Community Benefits Agreement in Tennessee.
“We are very happy to be moving forward with the stadium construction,” Ingram said in a statement. “The investment we are making is not just for our soccer team, it is an investment in the future of Nashville and the Fairgrounds.”
“I’m so glad we’ve reached a better deal for Nashville. I’m grateful to Nashville Soccer Holdings and John Ingram for understanding our city’s financial realities and agreeing to pay up to $54-million in additional costs,” Mayor Cooper said Thursday following the announcement. “This deal saves the taxpayers money and provides a better site plan for the Fairgrounds. Today is an exciting step forward for sports in Nashville and I’m ready for the first Nashville SC game on February 29th.”
The revised stadium deal consists of the following elements:
- The team will pay for infrastructure in the immediate vicinity of the stadium estimated to be $19-million.
- The team will assume Metro’s obligation to pay up to $35-million toward lease payments.
- The team has agreed to a general statement of principles for parcel 8C in the 10-acre, mixed-use development to account for an open plaza that can serve the operational needs of multiple Fairgrounds uses.
- The city has authorized initiation of the demolition contract and will proceed with the demolition process immediately.
Jim Roberts, attorney for Save Our Fairgrounds, said the group was disappointed in the deal. They said they were counting on Mayor Cooper to protect a piece of Nashville and the fairgrounds.
“We were hoping we would be able to persuade him without further litigation. Realistically, the lawsuit will continue forward and, if anything, it’s going to ramp up because everything they are trying to do is illegal. It violates the charter, it violates state law, and its ultimate result will be destruction of the fairgrounds and that’s just wrong,” said Roberts. “We hope to be filing an injunction sometime in the next couple of days to try and put a stop to this nonsense.”