Starwood Replacement?

A new baseball stadium in Nashville never came to fruition, leaving the opportunity for Mayor Bill Purcell to propose a riverfront amphitheatre instead.

Purcell announced his vision for a multi-use amphitheatre for the former Nashville Thermal Transfer Plant site during his final State of Metro address May 24th, according to the Tennessean.

Legislation filed May 29th would require the site to be redeveloped as an amphitheatre, green space and residential and commercial area within four years.

A new venue could fill a void left by the 17,000-capactiy Starwood Amphitheatre in Antioch, which closed in February. The new venue would follow the trend of mid-sizing, with 3,000 fixed seats and a lawn capacity of 5,000, according to WKRN.

Many representatives in the music industry applauded the mayor’s proposal, which set aside $8 million out of a $264 million capital budget for 2007-2008 for riverfront redevelopment, at a press conference held with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau May 25th.

"The vision described by Mayor Purcell for developing the riverfront with a focus on live performance is perfect for Music City," said Tim DuBois, CEO of Tim DuBois Music and chairman-elect of the bureau board of directors.

"An amphitheatre would be a dynamic addition to our riverfront, would boost tourism and our economy and enhance the music experience in our city."

Although the mayor favors a performance venue, the city will hold a competition to review alternative proposals for the 11-acre property, according to the Tennessean.

Regardless of what actually wins out for the area, others are glad the Cumberland River is getting its time in the spotlight.

"We’ve hidden the river for 200 years, and now everyone is paying attention to it," bureau president Butch Spyridon told the Tennessean. "I think the amphitheatre will be a great asset for the city and a great opportunity for the community to enjoy the city’s greatest natural asset, the river."

Instead of applause from Shakespeare in the Park or the sound of a steady drumbeat, Nashville residents might have heard the crack of a baseball bat along the river if the Nashville Sounds had built their proposed stadium.

The ballpark never came to be when the Sounds and developer Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, who had planned $200 million worth of hotels, condominiums, shops and offices around the site, were unable to agree on financing in an appropriate timeframe.

The Metro Council had approved the deal to build on part of the Thermal site more than a year ago but the project was canned in April.

Struever Bros. has pitched the site to the mayor as a multi-use project and other developers are expected to show interest as well, according to the Tennessean.

The mayor, who will leave office in about four months, asked the Metro council to approve the full budget in June before the fiscal year starts July 1st.