Mecklenburg County Approves MLS Proposal, City Scraps Vote

Proposed Memorial Stadium renovation

In a vote on Thursday, Mecklenburg County approved a funding package for a proposed MLS stadium in Charlotte. However, the City of Charlotte separately announced that it is tabling the proposal.

The 5-3 vote by the county in favor of the concept pledged funds for the $175 million stadium, which would be built on the site of Charlotte Memorial Stadium and the Grady Cole Center. This vote was conducted in advance of a key deadline for MLS backers Bruton and Marcus Smith, who must submit their proposal for an expansion franchise to the league by the end of this month.

That contribution was approved as part of a larger funding package. More from The Charlotte Observer:

The county and city each would ante up $43.75 million under the proposal before them. The county, which owns the site, would finance another $75 million of the team’s share of construction costs, to be reimbursed over 25 years.

Speedway magnate Bruton Smith and his son Marcus are pursuing the Major League Soccer expansion team. Charlotte is one of 10 cities, including Raleigh, that want a team.

The city, meanwhile, was to have voted on the proposal as part of a public form on Friday afternoon. In a statement issued this morning, however, the city revealed that it is canceling the meeting. The statement can be read below:

The proposal had become a source of controversy, with some officials claiming that it was being rushed and some concern being expressed that the public contributions were too high. Recent indications were that the vote was going to go against the proposal. While the bid to the MLS may still be submitted,  the city’s decision leaves a funding gap. More from The Observer:

Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports could still move forward with his expansion bid, which is due to Major League Soccer by Jan. 31. But he won’t have $43.75 million in city funds, and he would have to make up the difference himself. The proposed budget for the stadium is $175 million.

RELATED STORIES: Charlotte City Council Expected to Reject MLS ProposalKey Votes Ahead for Charlotte MLS ProposalCharlotte MLS Stadium Proposal RevisedCharlotte MLS Plan Calls for Memorial Stadium DemolitionMemorial Stadium Renovation Plans on HoldCharlotte Independence Upping MLS BidCharlotte Memorial Stadium Renovation Receives Key EndorsementCharlotte: We’re Ready for MLS; Independence: We’ll Pay $8M Toward Memorial Stadium Renovations; Independence to Propose Memorial Stadium Overhaul;  Charlotte Emerging as MLS City?

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