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City of Charlotte proposes $215M in upgrades to Spectrum Center, new Hornets practice facility



CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Charlotte’s Economic Development Department and Hornets’ representatives proposed a new deal to the Charlotte City Council during Tuesday night’s meeting.

If the City pays for hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations to the Spectrum Center, the Hornets will extend their lease in Charlotte for an additional 15 years. 

The City of Charlotte owns the Spectrum Center, and is contractually obligated to pay for at least $173 million in improvements to keep the arena in a certain working order.

This new proposed deal would require the City to pay for the obligated improvements, as well as chip in an additional $42 million towards a new practice facility outside of the arena. 

“The most important thing for everybody to understand is that we are not suggesting that these funds or any funds come from the general fund. So what do I mean by that there is no money that we are trying to take from police or fire, housing, other initiatives that we might have in the community like corridors of opportunity. This is from hospitality funds, which are required that we use in tourism,” Tracy Dodson, from the Economic Development Department, said.

In return for all this funding, the Hornets would stay in Charlotte until at least 2045, as opposed to 2030 when their current lease ends.

It will be up to the Charlotte City Council to approve or shoot down this proposal. 

“We believe that this proposal provides renovation and upgrades to keep the arena competitive and will help attract additional events and bring more visitors to the Center City and support our local businesses. The $376 million annual economic impact is what comes out of Spectrum Center today. There’s also the support for 3,200 jobs in our community, and there’s opportunity for more is what we believe,” Dodson said.  

In addition, the Hornets would also contribute $2 million a year for rent starting in 2031. As for the Performance Center, the proposal suggests it would be located where the CATS Transit Center currently sits. This would serve as a community hub with retail space, transit operations, and more. It would expand the presence of the Hornets outside of the walls of the Spectrum Center. 

“The last big thing I have to give a lot of credit to the Hornets on is for the investments into the arena as well as the Performance Center, they have agreed to cover cost overruns. So if anybody’s following construction costs these days and where they’re going, that is a huge commitment on their side,” Dodson said. 

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