SBD/April 12, 2013/Facilities

NFL Panthers, City To Resume Negotiations Over Stadium Renovation Funds

Proposed upgrades to Bank of America Stadium may cost the Panthers $300M
Negotiations between the NFL Panthers and the city of Charlotte over Bank of America Stadium upgrades “are expected to reopen Monday after passage of a stadium financing bill by the N.C. General Assembly,” according to Jim Morrill of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The negotiations also “would deal with a so-called tether, or agreement to keep the team in Charlotte.” The state Senate by a vote of 45-0  unanimously “approved a bill that allows the city to use occupancy taxes now earmarked for the Charlotte Convention Center for upgrades" to the stadium. The bill, which “already passed the House, now becomes law.” But the measure “falls short of what the Panthers -- and the city -- originally wanted.” State officials “rejected the team’s request" for $62.5M toward a "planned stadium upgrade costing nearly" $300M. City officials said that the “existing occupancy tax could generate $110 million for the stadium, the Convention Center and amateur sports.” Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell on Thursday estimated that about “80 percent of that, or $88 million, might be available for the stadium.” He said that negotiations between the Panthers and the city “would deal with tethering the team to Charlotte.” Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson, who is 76, has said that the team “would be sold two years after his death.” The city’s “original agreement with the team called for a 15-year tether.” But Mitchell said, “It won’t be 15, 15’s off the table.” Still, he added, “The tether is important to us, it’s important to the Panthers. I just know they want to stay in Charlotte.” It is unclear whether the Panthers “will seek a loan from the NFL as part of the project” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/12).
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