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Design & Development

Nashville edges closer to MLS as stadium plans approved

Nashville’s hopes of securing a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise have been given a major boost after the Tennessee city’s Metro Council voted 31-6 in favour of a project for a new stadium that would serve as the team’s home.

The latest approval comes after the Metro Sports Authority last month also gave the green light to the project, which would see a football-specific stadium built in the fairgrounds area of Nashville at a cost of $275m (€237m/£209m).

The initiative also includes a funding package of $225m in revenue bonds, which has the backing of city Mayor Megan Barry.

The Tennessean reports that the Metro Council opted to pass the measure with a number of late amendments, including a clause for the investor group to become liable for any costs that overruns due to infrastructure improvements built for the venue.

In addition, the group would have to assume responsibility for any construction costs in excess of the initial budget.

John Ingram, a local billionaire businessman who is part of the investor group, said, according to ESPN: “It’s been a long road as we started this process almost a year ago and so many Nashvillians have been a part of making it happen.

“From Mayor Barry’s leadership, to soccer fans and parents from all parts of our city, and now tonight with our Metro Council, the vision to bring Major League Soccer to our city moves one step closer.”

Barry added: “The Metro Council should be applauded for joining the majority of Nashvillians who say yes to Major League Soccer in Nashville. Their vote puts Nashville in a very strong position to be awarded a franchise later this year by MLS.

“Thank you to John Ingram and the MLS to Nashville committee who have worked tirelessly over the last year to make this possible for soccer supporters all across the Nashville area.”