‘Spiritual home for Nashville’
CEO Ayre thrilled as stadium takes shape
A father for 35 years, Nashville SC chief executive officer Ian Ayre equates his visits to the club’s 30,500-seat stadium development site at the Nashville fairgrounds to an addition of kin.
“It’s just incredible to see it come to life. It’s kind of like watching your kids grow,” Ayre told The Tennessean. “Every time you go down there, every few weeks, it just moves on so much.”
And now it’s ready for a growth spurt.
Ayre joined Nashville SC broadcaster Tony Husband on Friday at the fairgrounds to commemorate the first steel beam being installed for the Major League Soccer stadium, a significant milestone for the $335 million project, which remains on track for a May 2022 grand opening after months of tedious excavation and concrete work.
Since construction began in June — after the ownership group reached a deal with Nashville Mayor John Cooper last February — more than 350,000 cubic yards of dirt has been moved and more than 20,000 cubic yards of concrete has been poured by Mortenson/Messer Construction Company, which is overseeing the build.
Ayre said there will be approximately 6,000 tons of steel structure inserted and interconnected at the stadium site over the next six months, with a tentative completion date for the phase in July or August. By then, Ayre predicts the stadium will be viewable for drivers passing Wedgewood Avenue on Interstate 65 — a stadium skeleton that amounts to 632,000 square feet.
“I think that’s one of the things I’m most excited about for the fans, and the people in Nashville, is that it will be huge and its mass will really stand out and be visible from the highway,” Ayre said.
“It’s symbolic in the fact that it’s been a long road from the start. Anyone who has been involved in any major construction project, when the steel frames start to come out of the ground, you really feel like you start to see the size and mass of that building. And I think that’s symbolism.”
Ayre said no financial or constructional setbacks have occurred during the construction phase, crediting the irony of COVID-19 reducing local traffic duringexcavation. Metro Nashville Sports Authority has issued $225 million in bonds to complete the build, and Ayre reasserted the club will cover any cost overrun beyond that.
“We’re feeling good about it, at this point,” he said.
With a timetable unaffected, Ayre can begin dreaming on what’s next. Once the structure is placed, the roof will go on and painting will begin, two phases that will help give the project