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Nashville changes course; will look at new Titans stadium

Nissan Stadium

Planning for a renovated Nissan Stadium is on hold after higher-than-expected cost estimates, as Metro officials are now looking at building a new Titans stadium capable of hosting big events like the Super Bowl.

As is with the case with many stadiums of the era–Nissan Stadium is 23 years old–upgrades are not a simple matter. Originally, the thought was that Nissan Stadium upgrades–both on the fan side and also on the back end–could be done for $600 million. But when all the costs were tallied, including upgrades for such unglamorous items as HVAC and utilities, the estimate cost ballooned to $1.2 billion.

Which, interestingly, is less than U.S. Bank Stadium cost ($1.1 billion) upon opening in 2016. Since then Allegiant Stadium ($1.9 billion) and SoFi Stadium ($5.5 billion opened). But the fact remains that money spent on Nissan Stadium renovations would get you much of the way toward the cost of a new stadium. From The Tennessean:

“What we’ve discovered most recently is that the stadium has a lot more infrastructure needs than we originally anticipated,” said Titans spokeswoman Kate Guerra. “For example, the stadium’s structural frame was built with concrete and needs to be largely replaced with steel.”

The added costs also include complete replacements of the mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems….

“When you consider the present and future needs of our current stadium, it’s possible that another path, such as a new, modern stadium that could better serve its community’s needs, might be a more responsible option to explored,” Guerra said. 

So the prudent thing to do is take a step back and put all the options on the table–as the Titans and Metro are doing. What they are considering makes total sense in this day and age: Instead of renovating a very basic football stadium, they’re looking at a state-of-the-art facility that can both host events year-round–like U.S. Bank Stadium or Mercedes-Benz Stadium–as well as lure big events like the Super Bowl. Accompanying the new stadium would be a mixed-use development across the Cumberland River from downtown, with a new stadium built next to Nissan Stadium (perhaps a little closer to the freeway). Nissan Stadium which would then be torn down, clearing the way for some attractive waterfront development. The area surrounding Nissan Stadium is mostly parking lots and underused industrial spots, and it’s been eyed for development over the past few years, first as the potential site of a new MLS stadium (eventually built at the Fairgrounds) and later as the site of a new MLB ballpark.

Stadiums as the centerpiece of development is rapidly becoming the norm in the sports world; earlier this morning we spoke about the Denver Broncos and why new team ownership should be looking at new development instead of renovations to Empower Field at Mile High.

Photo courtesy Tennessee Titans.

RELATED STORIES: Tennessee Titans map out $600M in Nissan Stadium upgrades; Nashville Officials Expect Eventual Nissan Stadium Renovation TalksTennessee Titans Eyeing Nissan Stadium RenovationReport Calls for Future Investment in Nissan StadiumNashville Metro Mulling Nissan Stadium Improvements


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