...Interesting article. It almost sounds like there is a high level plan that Tepper and the city share for that area. Obviously, who pays for what will be the big fight.
A WBTV Investigation shows the Queen City’s capacity to contribute to stadium projects is much lower than what’s recently been agreed upon in other NFL cities.
Financial records shared by city staffers during a Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority board meeting show that the capacity to take on debt for major stadium construction is somewhat limited by other projects the city has already financed.
“I don’t feel that the capacity is there at the moment in the existing tax structure,” District 7 Councilman Ed Driggs told WBTV
Councilman and financial institution veteran Ed Driggs told WBTV he has doubts about the cities pot of money to pay for the deal.
“Particularly because we have a pipeline of capital projects that will probably soak up a lot of that of existing capacity,” Driggs said.
In addition to future potential projects like Discovery Place and Blumenthal Performing Arts, the city is already committed to $174 million in debt in the Convention Center fund, including more than $100 million for recent convention center upgrades.
Economist Andrew Zimbalist told WBTV that deals between franchise owners and cities that look beyond a specific dollar contribution have proven more fruitful for taxpayers.
“Cities are finding it more and more difficult to justify the expenditures as the prices go up in urban areas,” Zimbalist said.
“What we’ll do is we’ll give you the land for the stadium. Not only that, but we’ll give you some acres around it for parking lots and we’ll give you some more acres for commercial and residential development and then you can make your money off of those other things that will help pay back.”
That’s not to dissimilar from the plan currently unfolding between Charlotte and Tepper.
The City has already reached an agreement with Tepper and a developer for new soccer fields, residential units and commercial enterprises at Eastland. The city is also still negotiating with Tepper around a mixed-use/entertainment district in the area near Bank of America Stadium and the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry property, which could be crucial to the development of a future stadium.
Rezoning Pipe and Foundry and using a mixed-use/entertainment district to link it with the Gateway District, home of a future transit center for Amtrak could be crucial to plans moving forward.
“More likely than not, at the end of the day, for the vast majority of these deals, they should not be looked upon as a promoter for the economy,” Zimbalist said.
“They’re not going to raise overall employment. They’re not going to raise per capita income, and what you want to do as a city if you want to have a sports team, whether it’s MLS, NFL or NBA or whatever it might be, try to make a deal that is financially neutral.”