Charlotte Debates MLS Stadium Proposal

Proposed Charlotte MLS stadium

On Thursday, City of Charlotte officials discussed a proposed MLS stadium that has been floated as part of an expansion bid. 

The new $175 million venue to be built at the site of Memorial Stadium  has been pitched as a key piece in an expansion bid led by Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith, and the proposal calls for funding contributions from both Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. In the city’s case, it is still mulling whether to chip in about $30 million from its hotel/motel occupancy revenues to help finance the stadium.

Further discussion on the issue is expected to take place at an August 17 meeting, but Thursday gave city officials an opportunity to weigh in on the concept. More from The Charlotte Observer:

“The amount of public money is an issue,” Mayor Jennifer Roberts, a Democrat, told Smith during the council’s economic development meeting. “We are looking at income and racial disparities. There is a $900 million school bond this fall.”

At-large council member Julie Eiselt told Smith one of her concerns is the stadium site in Elizabeth, a prosperous area.

“I have no doubt soccer would be transformational,” she said. “But it’s not about soccer; it’s about the stadium.”

Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles, a Democrat who is running for mayor, said she wants more information about how the team could help minority-owned businesses.

As noted, the proposed funding model for the stadium includes public contributions from the city and county. For its share, Mecklenburg County has proposed $71.25 million in spending from its capital improvement budget next year, and an additional $43.5 million for fiscal year 2020. It decided last month to delay its vote on that proposal.

Charlotte is one of 12 expansion candidates in the mix, and MLS officials visited the city earlier this week.

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