First Tennessee Field

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This article is about the proposed Nashville Sounds baseball park project on Nashville's riverfront that was canceled in 2007. For the current Nashville Sounds stadium, see First Tennessee Park.
First Tennessee Field
Location 1st Avenue South & Korean Veterans Blvd.
Nashville, Tennessee
United States
Coordinates 36°9′34.51″N 86°46′17.47″W / 36.1595861°N 86.7715194°W / 36.1595861; -86.7715194Coordinates: 36°9′34.51″N 86°46′17.47″W / 36.1595861°N 86.7715194°W / 36.1595861; -86.7715194
Owner Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
Operator Nashville Sounds
Capacity 11,200*
Field size Left Field: 318 feet (97 m)*
Center Field: 415 feet (126 m)*
Right Field: 330 feet (100 m)*
Construction
Opened Project canceled
Construction cost $43 million*
($48.9 million in 2015 dollars[1])
Architect HOK Sport
Looney Ricks Kiss
Tenants
Nashville Sounds (PCL)
*proposed

First Tennessee Field was a proposed minor league baseball stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.[2] The new ballpark was to be built on the banks of the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville on the former site of the Nashville Thermal Transfer Plant.[3] It would have been home to the Nashville Sounds, a Triple-A baseball team of the Pacific Coast League, replacing Herschel Greer Stadium.

The Memphis-based financial services company First Tennessee agreed to a $4.125 million deal for naming rights to the proposed stadium.[4] The ballpark would have been the central part of a $200 million retail, entertainment, and residential complex, which was expected to continue the revitalization of Nashville's "SoBro" (South of Broadway) district. In 2007, the project and plans for the ballpark were canceled.

Planning and financing[edit]

A consortium of twelve banks was to fund $23 million of the cost of construction of the stadium. Another $17 million would come from tax-increment financing. The remaining portion of construction costs would have been assumed by Struever Bros., Eccles, & Rouse, the primary developer, which was to purchase some of the land for residential development. Together, the financing assured that no public money would be used. First Tennessee Field itself was estimated to cost $43 million.

Initially, Nashville's mayor, Bill Purcell, refused to approve the deal unless taxpayers were at no risk, following the construction of LP Field and Bridgestone Arena in the mid-1990s. Both of those ventures, initiated by former mayor Phil Bredesen (who later held the office of Governor of Tennessee), proved to be very costly to Nashville taxpayers. First Tennessee Field was to cost the Metro government $500,000 per year in maintenance costs. At the time, Metro spent $250,000 per year in maintenance costs on Greer Stadium, a cost that would have been eliminated if Greer was ever demolished or sold. Purcell ultimately adopted the project, thanks to the involvement of the banks. First Tennessee Field was officially approved by the Metro Council on February 7, 2006. As part of the agreement, the facility would be managed by the Nashville Sounds, but owned by the Metro government.

Cancellation of project[edit]

The stadium was scheduled to open in April 2009, two years later than the original target date due to the numerous delays in government approval of the project. The Sounds and private developer Struever Bros., Eccles, & Rouse were unable to finalize financing and design plans for the new stadium by the April 15, 2007 deadline set by the Nashville Metro Council.[5] Shortly thereafter, construction of First Tennessee Field was officially canceled.[6]

Fate of site[edit]

The land sat vacant until 2014, used occasionally as a venue for outdoor concerts and as a gathering place for Nashville's annual 4th of July celebration, until Metro Nashville designated it as an official park and began construction of permanent park facilities. The new park is named West Riverfront Park and is designed to serve as a companion to the existing Riverfront Park. Among its features will be an amphitheatre.[7]

Prior to the construction of the city park, the site was slated as one of three candidate sites for the next attempt at a Nashville Sounds stadium, although the Sulphur Dell site north of downtown was chosen as the location of First Tennessee Park.[8] Construction on that project began in 2014, and the ballpark opened in 2015.[9]

References[edit]

General
  • Vrooman, John (February 2, 2002), "$80 Million New Sounds Stadium Project at Sulphur Dell in the Works", Country Hard Ball in Music City: Economics of the Nashville Sounds Ball Park Deal (Vanderbilt University) 
Specific
  1. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "First Tennessee To Put Name On Proposed Sounds Stadium". Nashville Business Journal. November 21, 2003. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  3. ^ Tarica, Andrew (February 8, 2006). "Sounds Get New Park On The River". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ Flaum, David (December 10, 2003). "Memphis-Based Bank Buys Naming Rights for Nashville Baseball Stadium". The Commercial Appeal. AccessMyLibrary. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  5. ^ Carter, Cindy (April 16, 2007). "Deadline For Sounds Stadium Proposal Passes". WSMV. Retrieved October 29, 2008. 
  6. ^ Carter, Cindy (May 22, 2007). "Downtown Nashville Property Up for Bids Again". WSMV. Retrieved July 29, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Mayor Unveils Final Design for West Riverfront Park". Nashville.gov. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. May 19, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  8. ^ Rau, Nate; Garrison, Joey (August 21, 2013). "$80 Million New Sounds Stadium Project at Sulphur Dell in the Works". The Tennessean (Nashville). Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Sounds Unveil 2015 Schedule". Pacific Coast League. Minor League Baseball. September 25, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2014.