Updated Mar 25, 2024 - Development

New Charlotte Hornets owners want to build a bigger practice facility

This Uptown parking lot across from Spectrum Center is the proposed site for the team's new practice facility. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

This Uptown parking lot across from Spectrum Center is the proposed site for the team's new practice facility. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

The Charlotte Hornets' new ownership group is looking to invest $70 million to $100 million in a new standalone practice facility.

Why it matters: City leaders envision ultimately creating a thriving district along Trade Street, including the arena, a new transit center and a new practice facility.

Catch up quick: Charlotte City Council approved $275 million for the team's facilities in 2022. That includes $215 million for arena renovations and $60 million for a standalone practice facility.

  • This deal also kept the team in Charlotte through 2045.
  • The 2022 deal included two proposed locations for the practice facility: a redeveloped Charlotte Transportation Center or 50% part of the gravel lot across from the arena.

Driving the news: City leaders voted 7-1 to move forward with altered plans for a standalone Hornets practice facility and redistributing city committed funds from the practice facility to the arena. Council member Renee Johnson was the only person to vote no.

  • Future development could include a hotel or "something that activates Trade Street," assistant city manager Tracy Dodson said during the meeting.
  • The team would own the proposed new practice facility, which would be larger since it uses 60% of the lot rather than 50%. It will replace the current practice facility at Spectrum Center that faces 5th Street.
  • The Hornets would have a five-year option to develop the full lot or or it would revert back to the city, Dodson told the committee.
  • The city would also redirect $30 million of the original $60 million intended for the practice facility to arena renovations.
  • The new practice facility would open in time for the 2026-27 season, per a team spokesperson.
  • "HSE is committed to fully funding the practice facility costs above the $30 million provided by the city," the Hornets said in part in a statement.
  • Novant Health, a major Hornets sponsor, will likely have a presence at the new practice facility with a sports medicine and orthopedic space open to the public, a team spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Zoom in: The Hornets owning the new practice facility frees the city of the financial obligation of maintaining it and the new plan also puts more public money toward the city-owned arena.

Between the lines: It's been less than a year since Michael Jordan sold his majority stake in the Hornets. The new owners are showing they aren't afraid to spend money and make trades.

  • Fans voiced their frustration when the new owners — a group led by businessmen Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall —announced a substantial makeover for Spectrum Center. Many fans didn't care about luxury suites; they just wanted a winning team.

What they're saying: Council member Malcolm Graham said he is "skeptical" of the district idea.

  • Graham, who chairs the jobs and economic development council committee, said he would also like to have a larger conversation about the number of days the city may use the arena. The current agreement is for 12 days annually.
  • He also expressed concern about the original practice facility being linked to the redevelopment of CTC, and the progress of the CTC project.
  • CATS interim CEO Brent Cagle, however, said CTC rezoning will take place in coming weeks and the project continues to move forward.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on Feb. 26, 2024 and was updated on March 25, 2024 to reflect council's vote.

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