Public Funding For Charlotte MLS Developments Still Being Negotiated
The Charlotte City Council "wants to negotiate a framework" to ensure the Panthers and the city's MLS expansion club will "play in Charlotte for decades to come before committing" $110M worth of incentives pledged to help secure the MLS team, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. While the amount of incentive funding was "agreed to last fall" by the city, "none of the specific terms have been negotiated." Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles "all but guaranteed the incentives" in a letter to MLS Commissioner Don Garber in November, when Panthers Owner David Tepper was in the "final stages of his campaign." Lyles and Assistant City Manager & Economic Development Dir Tracy Dodson, among others, yesterday reiterated the city's "intention to seek opinions and ideas from taxpayers about the projects funded in whole or in part with public money." Among the projects likely to be included in the $110M incentives package are "soccer-specific updates" to Bank of America Stadium, a new MLS training facility and HQ at the city-owned Eastland Mall property and "possible landscaping, roads and other additions to a Tepper-backed entertainment district uptown." Tepper also will "spend much more of his own money to bring those projects to life" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/15). Dodson said that it already seems the city's investment "might be too small." However, she added that the "total investment may change depending on how much Tepper is relying on public dollars to help cover upgrades or an overhaul" of Bank of America Stadium (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/16).