Nashville Chief Development Officer Addresses Proposed ‘East Bank Authority,’ Prioritizes Residential Buildings for East Bank Development

Bob Mendes East Bank

Metro Nashville Chief Development Officer Bob Mendes addressed the proposed “East Bank Development Authority” that would oversee the East Bank development project at a Friday press conference. Mendes also detailed some restrictions he said are intended to create a “neighborhood” in a 30-acre area of the East Bank.

The site for the East Bank development totaling approximately 550 acres, including 100 acres for the new Tennessee Titans stadium and the 30-acre neighborhood area. The project is focused on the neighborhood element and is also set to create new greenways and parks.

Mendes said he was hopeful that the Tennessee General Assembly would pass the necessary legislation to create an East Bank Development Authority, which he added would also need to be approved by the Nashville Metro Council.

“It’s important to the mayor and the administration that the government not be bogged down on developing 60 or 30 acres or 100 acres on the East Bank because we have important business to do in the rest of the county,” Mendes said about the development of the East Bank. Mendes also cited the scale and time commitment required for the development as reasons for creating a separate authority.

@FOXNashville posted the press conference footage to X.

Tennessee State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), a sponsor of the State Senate’s version of the bipartisan bill that would establish the East Bank Authority, expressed concern about the continuity of the several-year development project on The Michael Patrick Leahy Show on Monday.

“The question is going to be this: Should there be a comprehensive plan of developing [the East Bank] and who would be in control of that plan?” Pody said.

“Should we let Davidson County, the Metro Council, and the current mayor be in charge?” Pody continued, adding that the development plan would be subject to change after every election. The alternative would be establishing an authority composed of “professionals,” he said.

According to the bill creating the East Bank Development Authority, the group would comprise five members appointed by the Nashville mayor and two members appointed by the Metro Council. It would also include the state comptroller, the state treasurer, and the secretary of state or someone designated by them.

Some critics of the bill, like Davidson County GOP Chairman Lonnie Spivak, however, believe the proposed Authority is too bureaucratic and not accountable to voters.

“It’s ripe for the ability of fraud and abuse,” Spivak told The Tennessee Star over the phone.

Noting that a majority of the Authority’s members would be appointed by the mayor, Spivak also said the law would vest too much power into the mayor’s office.

“We have a planning commission, we have one of the largest councils in the country,” Spivak said in response to Sen. Pody’s argument that the project needs professionals overseeing it. “We already have government set up to develop the city. We don’t need an extra layer of bureaucracy where seven people have so much power.”

When asked whether he believed Metro Council would support the creation of the East Bank Authority, Mendes said he expected they would.

Regardless of whether the Authority is created, Mendes said the East Bank development project will resume as planned. However, he noted that the creation of the Authority would speed up the process.

The Tennessee State Senate is scheduled to vote on the East Bank Development Authority bill on March 18.

Mendes also emphasized the “affordability” of the residential units planned for a 30-acre area of the development would last 99 years, a measure he said is intended to help create a “neighborhood” area for Nashvillians. He continued that there would be limits in the area on the number of hotels, limits on the concentration of bars, and a prohibition on “short-term rentals” in that area of the development.

The area’s new Titans stadium, set to open in 2027, costs approximately $2 billion. A substantial amount of the funding will come from Nashvillian taxpayers, as well as $500 million from the state. Many Davidson County voters opposed the stadium deal struck by the Metro Council, according to polling.

A hotel tax increase of 1 percent was among the measures taken by Metro Nashville to pay for the stadium.

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Matthew Giffin is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Matthew on X/Twitter.
Photo “Bob Mendes” by Bob Mendes.



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