A new Nashville Sounds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) ballpark moved one step closer to reality after the Metro Council voted twice to approve the financials.
The funding plan for the new Sounds ballpark calls for the city to pay $37 million in construction costs, plus $23 million for land and $5 million for capitalized interest. The team would commit to, but not contractually be obligated, to spend $60 million on a residential/commercial development near the ballpark; $750,000 in annual property tax payments would help pay down ballpark debt. The latest issue: a bill that would require the Sounds ownership, led by developer Frank Ward, to pay Metro $750,000 a year if Ward did not follow through with the residential/commercial development near the ballpark. That criticism was blunted when Ward offered a guarantee to begin construction by February 2016. From The Tennessean:
The most recent votes came after a public hearing on a single, specific bill that became a proxy for the whole plan and a spirited but unsuccessful attempt to force the Sounds’ owners to pay up if the mixed-use development they’re planning near the ballpark doesn’t arrive soon after the stadium….
The council voted 28-7 for a $65 million bond issue to cover construction, land acquisition and interest costs. Council members also approved several other pieces of legislation related to the ballpark deal, including a revision of the city’s capital improvements budget, which needed the support of two-thirds of the council and passed by a 30-2 count on the only required vote.
The council is scheduled to take the third and final votes on the other key provisions of the deal Dec. 10.
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