Plans for a new North Carolina FC stadium are being floated for an alternate site, with owner Steve Malik and developer John Kane now discussing 40 acres south of downtown Raleigh.
As first unveiled in the summer of 2017, the proposed new North Carolina FC stadium was to anchor a larger redevelopment initiative of state-owed land in downtown Raleigh. The stadium would house an MLS expansion club, with surrounding development to include office and retail spaces, residences, hotel rooms, and more.
More recently, the club put in a request to Wake County for $11 million annually in funds from the Interlocal Agreement over 30 years, showing that it is still eyeing the stadium project long term. Late last week, in an interview with Spectrum News, Malik indicated that the group now has 40 acres south of downtown Raleigh “under control” for a development that could include the new stadium. Some specifics about the site remain unknown, but it would offer more room for surrounding development than the previously unveiled downtown location. More from the News & Observer:
“We’ve got 40-plus acres we (now) control,” Malik said in the Spectrum interview. “With that much acreage, it is a little different than the thirteen acres we previously had, where the additional development was limited.”
The new site would be in an “opportunity zone” — a new feature in the country’s tax code that allows developers to earn savings on capital gains by investing in economically disadvantaged areas — that stretches from the Red Hat Amphitheater to south of I-440.
Kane, in an email, said he couldn’t disclose the exact location of the 40 acres yet, but did note that it was within the Raleigh beltline — an indication that it is likely close to downtown somewhere along the South Saunders Street corridor.
Malik, who bought the team in 2015, and Kane are currently pitching the idea to Wake County and are hoping to receive funds from the Interlocal Agreement, a pool of money that comes from the Wake County room occupancy and prepared food and beverage taxes, to finance the project. The tax generated around $55 million in the 2018 fiscal year.
With St. Louis and Sacramento now the front runners for the 28th MLS club, expansion candidates such as North Carolina FC are seemingly in a position where they are lining up plans should the league expand beyond 28 teams. That could give the club’s backers more time to build the bid, and a new site might gain broader support given that the earlier downtown proposal never seemed to gain much traction among state officials. However, there is still much that remains to be seen, including how North Carolina FC’s bid will progress from a funding prospective and how exactly expansion is going to proceed down the road.
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