Carolina Panthers, city may soon tackle real estate partnership

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We know at least this much about new Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper: He wants new practice fields, he believes there are real estate and stadium-related projects that warrant public investment and he’s already begun thinking about some possibilities in uptown Charlotte. Tepper said all of those things last month during his first press conference as team owner.

And, after examining documents tied to the current practice fields, we know one more thing: The team and city government will have to work together to figure out what might replace the existing fields and when.

Tepper specified new practice fields as a top priority, citing a need for Panthers players to have the same quality of training facilities as the rest of the NFL. Based on hints Tepper dropped, it seems likely a practice center and training complex could be in play — and with an eye on the North Carolina-South Carolina border to maintain the new owner’s desire to keep the team in both states. Tepper and the team haven’t addressed whether Panthers’ training camp might leave Wofford College in Spartanburg.

The team owns the stadium, but the city owns the land it was built on. According to the lease, the Panthers, as of 2010, gained the right to buy the land for fair market value, or a minimum of $35 million. But the property is considered as a whole, meaning it’s unlikely the Panthers could simply carve out the 7-acre practice field site for purchase and then privately develop the property.

Read the full story for more about what scenarios are possible, here.

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