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Today the Mayor’s task force charged with reviewing potential sites released its official report on a long-delayed new downtown baseball stadium for the Nashville Sounds, Triple A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. You can read that entire report here. I’d encourage you to do so because it’s packed with interesting details about the city, Triple A stadiums across the country, and the proposed locations for a new 10,000 seat stadium that would be completed in time for opening day 2014.
So we’re talking about a tight timetable here.
Since most of you don’t have the time to read a 200 page PDF file analyzing baseball stadium locations, I’ve pulled out some pertinent details for you.
Let’s dive in.
1. There are three proposed locations: the north Gulch area — just across Charlotte Pike from the Gulch where it intersects with 11th Avenue. The Sulpher Dell cite next to the Bicentennial Mall and across the street from Germantown, and the East Bank of the Cumberland River alongside the Titans stadium.
Several other locations were considered and rejected, including the long rumored location on the west bank of the Cumberland River where the old thermal plant used to be.
The proposal authors believe that the old thermal plant site can be better utilized by the city for other purposes. So we’re down to these three options.
2. The proposed stadium would be ready by April 1, 2014 and would have a projected cost of $52.3 million.
That does not include any costs that might be associated with land acquisition. (At least I don’t believe it does from looking at the documents).
Land acquisition would begin, under this proposed timetable, by January of 2012.
So, yeah, this is going to happen really soon.
3. The stadium would seat 10,000.
There would also be a club section, increased luxury box amenities, and a playground for children.
FYI, Greer Stadium, built in 1978, is the second-oldest Triple A ballpark in the country.
4. The intent would be to compete with Birmingham/Hoover to bring the SEC baseball tournament to Nashville.
That’s a great idea. The new downtown Nashville stadium would definitely set up, at worst, a rotation between Hoover and Nashville.
5. The new downtown stadium would be an anchor for more residential units and retail establishments.
I’d encourage you to go look at the detailed mock-ups of the plans. That’s the most important part of the stadium addition. Right now Greer Stadium is isolated. When you bring people into the neighborhood for several months, no other businesses really benefit.
The goal with the new stadium is to create a new economic vibrancy surrounding baseball in the city.
After reviewing the entire report, I’d rank the three final locations thusly:
1. North Gulch
Nashville’s Gulch is close to exploding as one of the premier destinations in the South for food, drink, and frivolity.
Can you imagine if a trolley service was set up to run the length of the Gulch and also connect with the Music Row bars on game nights?
We’re talking insane fun and insane amounts of money being dropped on local businesses.
There are already thousands of young professionals living and working in the Gulch who would be able to walk to the stadium, and it’s accessible enough for downtown workers to easily walk over or drive closer and park.
This location also has the potential to be the linchpin behind the revitalization of an important corridor to the city, Charlotte Pike. Heck, the baseball stadium literally would sit in the shadows of the state capitol and could have an impressive skyline view in the outfield too.
To me, this location is a no-brainer.
Anyone who is young and lives in the city knows how explosive the Gulch’s potential really is. This would put that area over the top.
2. Sulpher Dell
North Nashville has long been neglected when it comes to city amenities.
Not any longer if this stadium came in to this part of town. With the growth of Germantown, Salemtown, and Hope Gardens — confession my family lives in one of these neighborhoods — the entire area would rapidly add the restaurants and bars that are much needed. The stadium mock-ups of the area foresees a potential new location for the Tennessee State Museum and with the new African-American history museum you’re talking about a rapid influx of culture and excitement to an area that is much in need of both.
Plus, this location is the original site of baseball in Nashville, the same place where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig used to play on the way back from spring training.
Parking is convenient and available, the city could easily procure the land, and there would be rapid additions to the cityscape. Plus, this area is close to the West Bank of the Cumberland River and could lead to rapid redevelopment all the way to the river.
Needless to say, I absolutely love this location too.
3. The East Bank of the Cumberland River.
This site offers limited to no benefits other than the removal of an eyesore business.
We’ve already built the Titans Stadium on the East Bank of the river and it has provided no ancillary business. There are no great sports bars, no great restaurants, nothing that has flourished in the immediate vicinity of the stadium.
Now, don’t get me wrong, LP Field has worked great, but it hasn’t led to any grand flourishment of additional business.
I’ll be very disappointed if this location is selected.