NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The East Bank of the Cumberland River may look a lot different in a few years if one group gets their way. Music City Baseball is stepped up to the plate and released new renderings of a potential Major League Baseball stadium built just south of Nissan Stadium.
The group has been working for months to persuade the city of Nashville, along with the MLB, to expand the league to Music City. In the summer of 2018, the MLB Commissioner mentioned Nashville as a possible expansion city.
The new renderings propose that a baseball field be built just south of Nissan Stadium. The area is currently a huge parking lot and Cumberland Park. The stadium would have a retractable roof, a potential marina, a rooftop bar, condos and hotels built around it.
There would be some changes to the pedestrian bridge if the plan came to fruition. The renderings show the bridge stopping at the baseball stadium.
“I guess I would describe the proposal as 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag. It’s a very small site and I’m just worried about how all of those pieces would fit together," council member Brett Withers, who represents the area where the stadium is proposed, said. “I get all kinds of interest for that land, and sometimes folks come in with powerful presentations and binders of materials, and sometimes it’s an idea on the back of an envelope, so it really runs the gamut.”
Withers said when he talks to potential developers, he suggests they look to other areas along the river, such as the land owned by PSC Metals.
There have long been talks about purchasing the land from PSC Metals and having them move to a new location so that land close to downtown could be developed, and for a Major League Baseball stadium, Withers believes that, or another location along the river, would be the best choice as to not disrupt their park or the Titans.
“The Titans are our first in line for any kind of those considerations because they’ve been a long-term lease holder," Withers said, adding that there has even been talk about the Titans expanding their footprint beyond Nissan Stadium itself. “There are some early discussions that the Titans have had about sort of building a Titans Village of mixed-use development surrounding the stadium.”
One thing the potential baseball team has going for it, according to Withers, is the fact that they have said they plan to fund the stadium privately and not use any public funds.
“I’m a baseball fan myself, so I personally would love it," Withers said, throwing his support behind Major League Baseball in Nashville.
While Withers has suggested looking at other sites for the stadium, he does think having the baseball stadium near Nissan Stadium would be beneficial for the city.
“I do see a lot of value of having them close together, particularly because the interstate is right there. Now it would make it somewhat of a nightmare, but once you have enough similar uses in a similar location, that’s when you can coordinate, you would have to coordinate with TDOT for the interstate access and whatnot, but that’s when that sort of makes sense. You’re upgrading infrastructure all really in one location," Withers explained. “In order to make that really work, we would need a mass transit system that could get folks to and from all of these events without driving because there’s only so much parking that we could build.”
If awarded a baseball team, the group said it will be called the Nashville Stars. According to the group's website, the name "honors several Negro Leagues baseball teams that played games in Nashville prior to the integration of Major League Baseball."
Music City Baseball is hoping to have a team in Nashville by 2024. To do that, it has a long list of things to accomplish. Those items are listed on their website. They include commissioning a feasibility study to determine whether Nashville can support an MLB team. It's unclear when that would happen.