A sweeping proposal made public Wednesday would bring software tech giant Oracle to Nashville. The company is pitching the city on a $1.2 billion office complex that would employ 8,500 people within the next decade.
Oracle will seek approval from the Metro Industrial Development Board later this month, and is still negotiating an economic incentive package with the state government. The Metro Council would also need to sign off.
If approved, the deal would set a record as Tennessee’s largest economic development project, surpassing even Amazon’s Nashville expansion. Mayor John Cooper is touting the announcement as “transformative” in several ways, including the potential impact on local education, tech sector employment, partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities, and the physical redevelopment of the east bank of the Cumberland River near downtown.
“This is a huge win for our city. In an unprecedented deal structure for Nashville, no new debt is being issued and there is no burden on our taxpayers,” Cooper said in a statement.
Proposal stands apart from recent deals
The mayor’s office says Oracle is planning to spend $175 million on public infrastructure, including a pedestrian bridge over the river, a riverfront park, remediation of a polluted property and building a new sewer pump station.
Unlike past deals with companies, the proposed arrangement puts much of the infrastructure work on Oracle’s shoulders. The company would then be reimbursed for the cost of that work by cutting its future tax payments in half.
The mayor’s office says other revenue generated by Oracle would go into the city’s general fund and be prioritized for affordable housing in the city.
Metro, at least, is not offering jobs-related incentives. The state’s offer has not been disclosed.
“The incentives we offer will be in line with the size of this project, location, company’s capital investment and wages,” said Jennifer McEachern, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “We encourage our local partners to do their very best to support the successful recruitment of this project to the state.”
She said the state would “benefit greatly” from a company of Oracle’s caliber locating in Nashville.
Widespread ripple effects
Although it’s too soon for specifics, Nashville leaders say they’re also hopeful that Oracle will partner with the city school district. The company has done so elsewhere to develop computer-related career paths.
Local leaders are also touting Oracle’s track record of working with HBCUs and its allyship with LGBTQ communities.
The Tennessean reports the average Oracle salary would be $110,000, and that the hiring is charted over the coming 10 years.
The Nashville Business Journal reports the hiring would go a long way toward reaching the Greater Nashville Technology Council’s goal of doubling the tech workforce by 2025. The Business Journal’s analysis notes that Oracle could push up salaries at other major employers, as well as housing prices.
Meanwhile, Oracle could accelerate what has already been a rapid redevelopment of the east bank of the Cumberland. Despite its proximity to downtown, the area has largely been industrial but the city has recently added new infrastructure to prepare for redevelopment.
The proposal places Oracle on 60 acres within what is known as the River North — and that would see the company clean up a former city landfill.