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:
ALERT: Tomorrow’s #CLTCC special meeting for public input on #MLS2CLT has been cancelled. @CLTMayor statement below. pic.twitter.com/0fMh3Famdz
— City of Charlotte (@CLTgov) January 26, 2017
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 Proposal; Key Votes Ahead for Charlotte MLS Proposal; Charlotte MLS Stadium Proposal Revised; Charlotte MLS Plan Calls for Memorial Stadium Demolition; Memorial Stadium Renovation Plans on Hold; Charlotte Independence Upping MLS Bid; Charlotte Memorial Stadium Renovation Receives Key Endorsement; Charlotte: 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?