Metro Council Gives Approval for Mayor Cooper’s Office to Pursue Development Partner for Stadium Area

At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening, Metro Council gave approval for Mayor John Cooper’s office to pursue a solicitation for development of a portion of the Nissan Stadium campus.

By voice vote, an amended RS2022-1828 was approved unanimously, having advanced through three committees unanimously after it had been deferred at a previous council meeting.

The resolution allows Purchasing, with input from Planning, to seek a partner to develop the approximate 40 acres that would surround a new stadium. The current stadium lease with the Titans, from 1996, prohibits development of the subject area because it includes the surface parking lots for the existing Nissan Stadium.

The targeted 40 acres, referred to as the initial development area, has been deemed critical to accomplishing the coordinated development between the stadium and the larger East Bank development known as the Campus.

To ensure that council’s approval for the solicitation to proceed does not indicate any commitment to approve any other currently proposed or future legislation related to a new stadium or further development of the East Bank, Councilmember at-Large and Chair of the East Bank Stadium Committee Bob Mendes offered through his Amendment 1 a seventh recital to the resolution.

WHEREAS, with the understanding that agreeing to issuing a solicitation seeking a private partner to potentially develop the Initial Development Area does not indicate any commitment by the Metro Council to approve any other pending or future legislation related to the East Bank or a potential New Stadium, the Metro Council is willing to allow the Mayor’s Office to further explore the possibility of working with the private development partner subject to the terms of this resolution.

Similarly, District 26 Council Member Courtney Johnston took the opportunity to address concerns for the viewing audience about passing the resolution in the context of the Titans stadium discussions.

Acknowledging that Mendes’ amendment addressed that passing the resolution does not obligate the council in any fashion to building the stadium or anything else, Johnston added that having a development partner to answer questions is a necessary part of finding out the true costs of the infrastructure within the development.

Mendes’ amendment also made changes to four recital paragraphs which clearly assign the assertions made in the resolution to the mayor’s office.

Per the resolution, developer proposals must include coordination with the construction of the new stadium. Additionally, infrastructure, affordable housing, parks and multi-modal transportation necessary for a transit-oriented district must be addressed.

To ensure that the more detailed objectives identified in the Imagine East Bank Vision Plan are captured in the solicitation, Councilmember at-Large Burkley Allen offered Amendment 2 to the resolution, which was also adopted by the council.

Amendment 3 by Member at-Large Sharon Hurt adds a requirement that the solicitation promote, to the fullest extent possible by law, the utilization of minority- or women-owned businesses.

Prior to entering into a formal agreement with a developer, the proposal most advantageous to Metro will be brought to the council for approval.

At the same meeting on Tuesday, council deferred for a second time legislation that is directly linked to a new Titans stadium.

Bill BL2022-1529 would increase the hotel occupancy tax (HOT) by one percent, increasing the rate from six to seven percent. The additional revenues are required, per state law enacted in 2021, to be used for the payment of debt service related to the construction and future capital improvements of a new, enclosed stadium that would seat at least 50,000.

With a deferral of one meeting, the council is expected to take up the bill again at the next regularly scheduled meeting on December 6, when the Stadium Term Sheet will also be taken up.

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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star.
Photo “John Cooper” by John Cooper.




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