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(The Center Square) – The Tennessee House is expected to vote on a bill Monday that would prevent Metro Nashville from requiring a super majority vote to approve demolition to build a new Fairgrounds Speedway.
Currently, any project that requires demolition would require a super majority vote of Nashville’s council. That could impact a Bristol Motor Speedway project to rebuild the Fairgrounds Speedway.
The speedway project has not yet reached Metro Nashville’s council, which is currently contemplating a new $2.2 billion Tennessee Titans stadium.
But House Bill 864 would prevent the higher vote requirement for the project, which Nashville’s Fair Board recently approved without a final price tag. The deal would involve up to $100 million in bonds in addition to $17 million from the state of Tennessee and $17 million from the Nashville Convention and Visitors’ bureau reserve fund, which comes from Davidson County hotel and motel tax collections.
Bristol Motor Speedway would take over management of the track under the deal and Rep. John Crawford, R-Bristol, is the bill sponsor. The Senate version of the bill is scheduled to be taken up a week from Monday and is sponsored by Sen. John Lundberg, R-Bristol.
“We are just asking because we are trying to do renovations, we do have to include the word demolished because that is what it says in metro government’s charter,” Crawford said during House Local Government Committee. “… All we’re wanting to do is go in and do some remodeling and improvements around the fairground.”
Crawford explained the rebuild would then be allowed under a simple majority vote. A supermajority vote is 27 votes on Nashville’s 40-member council while a majority is 21.
A pro forma for the deal estimates $168 million will be paid in debt service on the bonds over the 30-year life of the lease. Those bonds will be paid for by 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.
The deal would build a new 30,000-seat grandstand, track and surrounding structures at the speedway with the plan of bringing a NASCAR race to the stadium.