Construction starts on $245M Spectrum Center Facelift

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After two years of waiting, construction has finally started on the $245M Spectrum Center facelift.

In 2022, the City Council voted to extend the lease for the city-owned stadium all the way until 2045, ensuring that the venue would remain home to the Charlotte Hornets basketball team for decades to come.

But keeping the Hornets in town came at a cost. The city agreed to spend a whopping $215 million on renovations to the aging arena. While a significant sum, this investment aimed to modernize the facilities and keep the stadium competitive with other top-notch venues around the league.

The commitment didn’t stop there. Charlotte also allocated an additional $60 million to construct a brand-new, state-of-the-art practice facility solely for the Hornets’ use. No more sharing practice courts – this dedicated building would provide the team with a first-class training environment.

Where did the money come from? The city tapped into taxes collected from local hotel and motel room rentals, as well as taxes on prepared food and beverages sold in the area. This funding source allowed Charlotte to make these major investments without directly impacting residents’ tax bills.

For Hornets fans and city leaders alike, these moves demonstrated a firm commitment to keeping professional basketball in the Queen City for the long haul, while also providing top-notch facilities that could attract premier talent and major events to the region.

“This building truly is special to each and every person that walks through its doors, and I’m so excited for the future that Re!magine Spectrum Center will deliver,” said Donna Julian, Hornets Executive Vice President and Spectrum Center General Manager. “The renovations we will make over the next two years will allow us to draw even more top-tier events and have an even greater impact on our community by bringing more guests uptown to Uptown Charlotte.”

Now entering its 19th year in the City of Charlotte, Spectrum Center has welcomed more than 20 million visitors, not only from Charlotte and its surrounding areas in the Carolinas but also from a national and global audience. Whether it’s a Hornets game, a favorite concert, a family event, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the 2019 NBA All-Star Game and more, Spectrum Center has something for everyone. The Spectrum Center facelift will only enhance and increase those experiences.

“We may be knocking things down here beginning today, but brick-by-brick we plan to build the Hornets into an elite organization. We look forward to the future of our team, our arena and our city center,” said Gabe Plotkin, HSE Co-Chairman and Alternate Governor. “While we’ve only been here a short time with Rick Schnall, myself and the ownership group, there’s one thing we quickly learned – Charlotte is an amazing city filled with incredible people, and we are truly blessed to lead this franchise. We’ve also learned the important role that Spectrum Center has played in this community by bringing people together and creating lifelong memories.

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What to expect after Spectrum Center facelift

Improvements to the upper-level concourse including new signs, lighting and flooring are slated for 2024, along with upgraded concessions and renovations to fan areas in the upper level. A fourth entrance and exit area on the lower level, entrance modifications and wider corridors on the event level will also arrive in 2024. That year will further see two new premium seating area private clubs and renovation and relocation for an existing club, as well as new grab-and-go markets and technology-driven upgrades to speed transactions throughout the arena.

New performer and crew dressing rooms and an upgraded NBA visitors’ locker room are on tap for 2024 too, plus a new suite portfolio consisting of 28 traditional suites, four party suites, 13 mini-suites and one 75-person super suite. The venue will add more gathering areas for fans in both 2024 and 2025. It will also undergo back-of-house improvements including a new sound system, kitchen and prep areas, HVAC, electrical, lighting and plumbing upgrades in 2024 and 2025. The renovations will continue in 2025 with refreshed suites on the arena Founders Level, the addition of 2,500 lower-level seats, and the replacement of all seats throughout the venue.

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“Once completed, the Spectrum Center facelift will elevate the experience for Hornets fans,” said Steve Bagwell, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The visitors authority manages Spectrum Center’s back-of-house operations such as security and staging changeovers on behalf of city government.

“Spectrum Center has long been a cornerstone for our community, driving economic impact and supporting many of our hospitality businesses and jobs,” said Steve Bagwell, CRVA Chief Executive Officer. “The Spectrum Center facelift project will ensure that it remains a premier destination for sports and entertainment in the Carolinas for many years to come.”

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