2019 Paul Chinetti
Nashville SC CEO, Ian Ayre, announced the MLS stadium will not be ready until the 2022 season on Thursday, March 21, 2019. As you can see in this photo taken last week Nashville SC’s MLS stadium is finally moving. Before construction of the actual stadium can begin the new buildings shown here have to be built for the flea market to move into. These 3 buildings are the 132,491 square feet of air conditioned space. Once these buildings are done (including 100,348 square feet of covered outdoor space), the old buildings on top of the hill at the Fairgrounds will be knocked down for the MLS stadium. It’s hard to see those one story buildings in the photo, but they are adjacent to the racetrack’s grandstand. Also this month the dog park opened at the corner of Bransford Avenue and Craighead Street. It’s in that open area of grass at the top right corner of the racetrack. That grass should be eight multi-use soccer fields very soon. The dog park and soccer fields are all part of Fair Park which uses the creek that you can see running with the tree line through that open grass area. So do I have you confused? Well perhaps the picture below will help.
Start at 1. Here, just off Bransdord Avenue is where the 30,000 seat MLS stadium will sit. It’s quite far away in the top photo so a bit hard to see. This is up a slight hill from the racetrack and has the current old buildings. As you move from 1 to 2 (down Bransford towards Craighead) you’ll see all the green of Fair Park. The dog park at the corner intersection of Bransford and Craighead is already open (see photo below). The soccer fields next to it should be completed any day. You can easily see the creek that runs through the park. Again, in the photo above you can see the tree line running through Fair Park in the open grass area at the top right corner of the racetrack. Once you’ve turned left on Craighead you drive all the way down along the park to Nolensville Pike at 3 where the new buildings are currently underway. Nolensville turns into 4th Avenue within a few blocks towards downtown. The light blue areas are the 10 acres of land that will turn into mixed use structures (commercial and residential). The gray areas next to the stadium are parking. Speaking of parking, other graphics show how all the new soccer fields at Fair Park will be used as temporary parking for major events. It’s unfortunate this had to be done. The quality of these fields will be impossible to keep in good shape with this plan. That said, I guess poor fields are better than none at all.
Things are really moving. One interesting item can be found on a stadium database website here. It mentions how the stadium needs to be 30,000 so Vanderbilt can play football games there. Many thought this was dead, but with a new Athletic Director at Vandy and Ingram’s relationship with the university I wouldn’t be surprised if it came up again. The club now has an extra year to work things out. While it’s likely this just hasn’t been updated, the same website has a news story from the March 22, 2019 specifically mentioning increasing the size of the stadium and that it might still go up further. Time will tell.