• Plan to build amateur sports complex gains momentum

    By: Jim Bradley


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A big economic boost could be coming for East Charlotte.  A plan to build a new amateur sports complex surrounding Bojangles Coliseum on Independence Blvd. is gaining momentum with city leaders.

    The City Council's Economic Development Committee got an update on the plan from city staff.  "We hope by the end of July to have a development agreement that is satisfactory to the City Council and is good for the community and the neighborhood around it," said Brad Richardson, who is leading the city's effort. 

    The city is partnering with a private company, GoodSports, to build the complex.  The plan calls for renovating Bojangles Coliseum, tearing down the adjacent EconoLodge motel and building a new hotel and indoor fieldhousefield house.  

    GoodSports says the complex would attract amateur sports tournaments all year long.  "Anything from basketball to volleyball to badminton to wrestling, dance, cheer(space)... you name it," said GoodSports Vice Presidentvice president Anthony Homer.  

    For East Charlotte the development potential is something residents have been waiting for.  For more than a year plans to develop a movie studio complex on the old Eastland Mall property have stalled.  Now Diane Langevin says the east side is ready for some good news.  "The neighborhoods are working very, very hard to sustain our area and I think this will really revitalize East Charlotte.

    According to plans still being finalized the city would pay $25 million, GoodSports $39 million.  An additional $12 million from the hotel/motel tax will be used for renovating the coliseum.  

    City Council members could be asked to approve the plan in July.  If so, construction could begin by the end of the year and the complex could open by 2016.

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