Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway deal withdrawn until new mayor arrives



(The Center Square) – A deal estimated to cost taxpayers at least $120 million to revamp Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway will have to wait for a new Nashville mayor.

The proposal was officially withdrawn from the council’s Tuesday night meeting and will not have enough time to pass before current Mayor John Cooper’s term ends. It would have needed to have three readings before being approved as Nashville’s Thursday mayoral election and a potential runoff that follows.

The revamped speedway would be run by Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Rather than push for an additional special-called meeting during an election season, we are asking bill sponsors to defer this proposal until a new mayor and council are in place,” Bristol Motor Speedway President Jerry Caldwell told Nashville’s News Channel 5.

The proposal saw backlash from some council members and the owner of Nashville SC, the MLS soccer team that shares the Fairgrounds Speedway and said the club is not against racing but is concerned about how an expanded racetrack will impact the community and fairgrounds campus.

The speedway proposal, to rebuild the speedway with a new 30,000-seat grandstand in hopes of holding a NASCAR Cup Series race every two years, included $86 million in Nashville Sports Authority bonds and $34 million combined from Tennessee and Nashville’s Convention and Visitors Corporation. The Nashville CVC funds come from a Davidson County hotel tax surplus.

It will cost an estimated $177.5 million to pay off the bonds over the 30-year lease at a 5.31% interest rate – with $6 million to $7 million in annual debt service – using a tax capture that includes ticket tax, rent from Bristol Motor Speedway, a sales tax capture, 5% revenue share, an annual $650,000 payment from the CVC and revenue from advertising and sponsors.

As part of the deal, Bristol will keep all proceeds from its four main race weekends.



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