Jun 13, 2022 - News

5 things to know about the Spectrum Center’s $215M renovation project

Spectrum Center upgrades

Photo courtesy of City of Charlotte

Spectrum Center will begin substantial renovations this summer.

What’s happening: Charlotte City Council voted 9-1 to approve $215 million in renovations for the arena Monday night. Council member at-large Braxton Winston was the only vote against, describing it as a “bad contract.”

Why it matters: Since the city owns the venue, which opened in 2005, they are contractually obligated to maintain it.

  • Plus: The Charlotte Hornets brand already left Charlotte once over an arena, and District 7 Rep. Ed Driggs said during the meeting, “if we don’t negotiate, [the Hornets] will negotiate with somebody else.”
  • Flashback: When Spectrum Center reopened to fans, they had trouble getting in on time for tipoff at Hornets games because it took too long. Part of the upgrades would include larger entrances for better ingress and egress.

State of play: The current Hornets’ lease ends in 2030, and this deal also includes a 15-year lease extension through 2045.

Here are five things to know about the deal:

1. Arena upgrades: $215M in Spectrum Center improvements to the roof, elevators, bathrooms, entrances and a new HVAC.

2. Practice facility: An additional $60M for a practice facility to be built on the site of the existing Charlotte Transportation Center, or in a gravel lot next to the arena if the CTC option isn’t feasible. If it’s built on the existing transportation center site, the bus facility would be moved underground.

  • In August 2019 the city selected Charlotte-based White Point Partners and Dallas-based Dart Interests to redevelop the transportation center, which was built in 1995.
  • Underground construction is costly, but there are examples of bus centers underground. There’s one in Denver, Colorado.

3. How the city proposes paying for it: Since the city owns the Spectrum Center, they’re contractually obligated to a certain amount— which they said is $173M, but they’re willing to offer an additional $42M from tourism funds.

4. The EpiCentre: It’s right next door to CTC, scheduled to be auctioned on July 26. City officials hope that it could be paired with the new practice facility and arena upgrades to create an entertainment district.

5. Timeline: Construction will begin this summer and stretch across several phases — which were explained as fiscal year 2023-26 for the arena and 2027 for the practice facility. A vote for CTC is expected later this summer.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on May 31 and updated on June 13 to reflect the vote. 

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