The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –
On Nov. 14, the Tennessee Titans released plan documents for a renovation to Nissan Stadium that Venue Solutions Group estimated would cost $1.9 billion.
The documents show a complete renovation with everything from a three-story sports bar to a rooftop food and bar area to a Song Writing Café, Theater Boxes and a new seating total of 59,271 fans with a capacity of 64,108.
Download PDF HERE.
Those plans, however, only came to light after Nashville Council Member At-Large Bob Mendes pushed back multiple times via email when a Titans representative claimed that only eight pages of drawings were sent to VSG and its subcontractors for VSG’s report.
The emails were released as part of a public records request from Nashville resident Justin Hayes.
On Nov. 8, VSG presented its findings related to the costs of the Titans’ preferred renovation plans at a meeting of the East Bank Stadium Committee as part of a process of evaluating whether Nashville should renovate Nissan Stadium or help to build a new $2.1 billion stadium.
The Nashville City Council is expected to vote this month on a non binding term sheet from the deal for a new stadium — which will cost more than $1.26 billion in public funds — after the city’s sports authority approved the term sheet on Thursday.
At the Nov. 8 committee meeting, council members repeatedly asked to see the Titans’ Gensler-Hastings renovation plan, the subject of VSG’s $315,000 consulting contract.
Metro Legal Deputy Director Tom Cross said that he had not seen the plans and the documents were proprietary before Titans’ outside counsel James Weaver stood up at the meeting and said “We’d be happy to share the Gensler plan. We haven’t been asked to share it.”
After the meeting, Weaver sent the eight pages of drawings to Mendes. Mendes then asked if the eight pages were all that VSG received.
“The document I provided to you is the full documentation provided by the Titans at VSG’s request regarding the proposed Gensler renovation,” Weaver responded. “To be clear, there isn’t a ‘Gensler Plan’ document. Our client worked with Gensler for two years developing stadium update and renovation possibilities and during that time traded hundreds of documents and ideas.”
Mendes then pointed out that several portions of VSG’s verbal and written reports cited information and quoted from text that were not included on the eight pages of renovation drawings.
Mendes asked again and Weaver responded, in part, “I’ll recheck but I believe this was what was provided.”
The Titans then also offered to setup a Zoom call between Mendes and Titans CEO Burke Nihill and Titans Senior Vice President/Business Affairs and Chief Legal officer Adolpho Birch, who previously worked for 23 years in the NFL Commissioner’s office for both Roger Goodell and Paul Tagliabue. The meeting was ultimately scheduled for Nov. 21.
Before that meeting, Mendes then reminded Weaver multiple times through email of his request for further documents.
On Nov. 14, Nihill responded with the full concept documents that were ultimately posted on the East Bank Committee website.
“As part of the fall 2021 and spring 2022 costing exercises, Turner/Hunt worked with Gensler and our construction manager over the course of months to do a deep dive on the building condition and potential updates under consideration at the time,” Nihill wrote. “They spent time onsite and offsite, met with building staff, met with consultants, etc.
“In addition to the eight-page architectural drawings you’ve already seen, the document linked here was the “latest and greatest,” most recent and comprehensive Gensler work product we gave to Turner during its costing exercise.”
Nihill then went on to explain why he believed the documents weren’t sent to the committee earlier.
“Also, as a part of my tracking down the documents you requested with respect to the Turner review, I learned over the weekend that after our initial deliverable to VSG in early August, a few weeks later our construction manager gave VSG the same Gensler materials as a supplement to the eight-page architectural drawings in our initial delivery,” Nihill wrote.
About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.