Plans to build a new minor league ballpark near Nashville’s Bi-Centennial Mall took a big step forward Friday. According to a news release, the city has reached an agreement with the state – which owns the land – to build on the site of the historic Sulphur Dell stadium.
The Sounds have also agreed to lease the 8,500-seat facility from the city, assuming it gets built. The deal – which will be more fully described Monday – also involves a property swap with a private developer.
Mayor Karl Dean and owners of the Sounds are still shooting to be ready for the 2015 season. But there are several significant hurdles to go, including a vote of the Metro Council. As of yet, no price tag has been announced.
From the mayor’s office:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean today announced that agreements have been reached with the State of Tennessee, the Nashville Sounds and a leading multi-family developer for a significant public-private partnership that will allow Metro to build a new minor league ballpark at Sulphur Dell in the Jefferson Street/Germantown area.
“I’ve said all along that this proposal would need to make financial sense for the city and that the Sounds would need to have some skin in the game, and I’m proud this agreement meets those goals,” Mayor Dean said. “This investment north of downtown returns baseball to its historic home in Sulphur Dell and will spur further redevelopment of the Jefferson Street area. I want to thank all our partners in this deal, including Gov. Bill Haslam, the State Building Commission members and their staffs. Minor-league baseball offers affordable family fun, and I look forward to discussions in the coming weeks about this important and exciting part of the Nashville sports mix.”
Details of the proposal and a financing plan will be presented to members of the Nashville Sports Authority and Metro Council during two information sessions on Monday, Nov. 11:
Nashville Sports Authority Board meeting, 8:30 a.m. in the Media Room at LP Field. Parking will be available in Lot S off of Titans Way. Enter the stadium through the West Club entrance.
Information Session, 4 p.m. in the David Scobey Council Chamber at the Historic Metro Courthouse, 1 Public Square.
The plan includes agreements with the State of Tennessee, which owns property at the proposed location; the Nashville Sounds, which would lease the ballpark from Metro; and Embrey Development Corp., a multi-family developer that has agreed to swap property at the proposed location with Metro.
“The proposed ballpark’s location in north Nashville would greatly enhance the Bicentennial Mall area and future plans for state projects there,” Gov. Haslam said. “This state, local and private partnership is good news for our capital city.”
In order for the ballpark to open in time for the 2015 season, Metro is working toward finalizing all property and financing agreements before the end of the year. The project requires approval from the Nashville Sports Authority, the Metro Council and the State Building Commission.
“We love being a part of the Nashville community and thank Mayor Dean and Gov. Haslam for providing leadership on this exciting ballpark proposal,” said Frank Ward, co-owner of the Nashville Sounds. “Greer Stadium has far outlived its useful life, and we can’t wait to give Nashvillians a top-notch experience at Sulphur Dell. Our investments, plus those of all our partners, will truly transform this area of North Nashville, and we are thankful for this opportunity. Let’s play ball!”
The proposed ballpark complex would be located on property that is currently undeveloped and sits between Jackson Street and Harrison Street, as well as Third Avenue North and Fifth Avenue North.
The ballpark would have a recessed field and offer sweeping views of downtown. It would hold 10,000 people, with 8,500 fixed seats. A new 1,000-space car lot would be constructed just south of the ballpark, and a new greenway would offer easy pedestrian access and give the ballpark a park-like feel.