Nashville passed a new NFL stadium deal. What now?

The Tennessee Titans released renderings of the potential new stadium Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. The stadium would encompass 1.7 million square feet with a capacity of about 60,000 people. Tennessee Titans / Submitted

Nashville’s NFL stadium is at the center of a wide stretch of asphalt lots, old warehouses and bedraggled riverfront. But Metro’s Imagine East Bank plan would remake the area into a thriving business, housing and entertainment district — starting with a new stadium.

The deal’s final approval came early Wednesday morning in a 26-12 Metro Council vote after numerous hearings this year. Council approved a new lease and financing agreements with the Tennessee Titans to build and operate the multiuse arena a few blocks east of the current stadium, where parking lots A, B, C and D are located.

Tourism officials said the venue — scheduled to be open for the 2027 NFL season — will attract major concerts, a Super Bowl, WrestleMania, Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions, and high school and college championships for basketball and football.

“We are obviously pleased with tonight’s outcome,” Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon said. “The stadium vote relieves the city’s general fund of significant financial obligations and opens up the opportunity to bring the best events in the world to our city.”

First, county and state transportation officials are designing an entirely new street grid and utilities infrastructure on East Nashville’s riverfront.

“The area is ripe with additional possibility and, with the development of the community vision reflected in Imagine East Bank, a new future is possible,” Planning Director Lucy Kempf wrote in the Imagine East Bank vision plan. “The East Bank can become a place reclaimed for all Nashvillians to enjoy, with a public greenway along the riverfront for pedestrians and bicyclists, a boulevard providing multimodal access, and neighborhoods for residents.”

A development hot-spot

Two years ago, Oracle Corp. announced plans to build a 65-acre campus in the East Bank’s first major modern development in decades.

The area was largely forgotten by developers until Monroe Investment Partners bought 120 acres of what was then low-value East Bank land on the Cumberland River more than 20 years ago. In the past few years, development attention has skyrocketed.

The new NFL stadium will be in the Central Waterfront neighborhood, in Nissan Stadium's existing parking lot A.

The new NFL stadium will be in the Central Waterfront neighborhood, in Nissan Stadium’s existing parking lot A. Metro Nashville

Now, the 120-acre River North project includes Oracle’s property, and new mixed-use projects are under construction there as well. Apartments will open next year in the Landings at River North.

A pedestrian bridge connecting Germantown with Oracle’s campus will be built at the same time as construction on the company’s offices.

The land is now among the most valuable real estate in Davidson County. Large public and private investments in the works are:

  • Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency’s Cayce Place mixed-income community is expanding with subsidized and market-rate rents.
  • An 18-acre development at 111 North First St. will replace a 1970s-era Travel Centers of America truck stop with homes, shops, offices and green space called Station East.
  • A dual-branded hotel is now in the entitlement process at 100 Spring St.

What’s next?

The Titans can now move forward with hiring an architect-of-record to translate Manica Architecture’s vision for a multi-purpose stadium into construction plans.

Metro officials are in the process of hiring a master developer to oversee East Bank expansion and ensure it encourages community priorities for cultural landmarks, affordable housing and riverfront activation.

The stadium designs include a translucent roof and roughly 60,000 seats. National Football League officials are working closely with the Titans on best practices for construction and to ensure state-of-the-art technologies are available for large events, among other market-based priorities.

The Titans developed a ONE Community platform to engage community organizations in partnerships to fund education, small business and sports programs including real-estate development training.

Among other initiatives, the team plans to partner with Tennessee State University, open a community center in North Nashville named after local civil rights leader Dr. Z. Alexander Looby, and donate time from players and staff.

Four community members were appointed this week to an advisory board overseeing the ONE program in addition to executives from the Titans and the Titans Foundation. They are retired state Sen. Brenda Gilmore, Lipscomb University President Candice McQueen, Warner Elementary Principal Ricki Gibbs and Freda Player, executive director of Emerge Tennessee.

“After serving the Nashville people for nearly three decades, I watched Music City grow from a place of great potential into the thriving and vibrant community it is now,” Gilmore said. “With city growth also comes a responsibility to foster expanded efforts in community impact. The Titans ONE Community platform addresses many of Nashville’s greatest needs, especially in focus areas I feel most passionately about.”