State commission OKs land deal for Nashville ballpark - WSMV News 4

State commission OKs land deal for Nashville ballpark

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The state building commission approved a deal Monday that will allow Nashville to purchase state land for its proposed new ballpark, but it comes with some conditions.

The Sulphur Dell stadium project is clearing so many hurdles so quickly, in part, because of the support of community leaders who believe this will revitalize the area near Jefferson Street.

"We are thrilled about what is happening on Jefferson Street," said state Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville.

Harper was one of several elected officials urging the state building commission to approve the deal with Metro.

"It will impact all of Jefferson Street all the way down to TSU, so we're excited," she said.

Metro will pay the state $23 million for some 10 acres on land on Jefferson between Fourth and Fifth avenues North.

The state will use that money to build two parking garages, one of them for 1,000 cars, where baseball fans can park on game nights.

The city also gets 28 acres and buildings on Foster Avenue from the state.

But if the Nashville Sounds default on their lease with the city for the ballpark, the state can repossess the stadium site.

"Day one, they expressed those concerns, so that was agreed upon. They had a right to get the property back, if for some reason, the ballpark ever left," said Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling.

The Sounds have agreed to pay the city $700,000 a year to lease the stadium, although their recent financial statements show they've been losing more than $1 million a year.

The building commission approved the land deal unanimously.

"This is a wonderful deal for the state as well as the city," said Metro Councilman Ronnie Steine.

The state will also have significant say over the design of the ballpark and the two private real estate ventures that are slated to surround it.

The next major hurdle is Metro Council, where a public hearing is set for Dec. 3.

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