Change of plans for Hornets practice facility

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte City Council members revealed Monday night that they are changing plans for a Charlotte Hornets practice facility in Uptown.

Original plans called for it to be built inside the transit center.

The city said the team wants to build it in a gravel parking lot between the Spectrum Center and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department headquarters.

The city said the new practice facility will be bigger and more expensive than previously estimated. Charlotte City Council already promised $60 million for the project. The Hornets are asking $30 million of that to go into the planned Spectrum Center renovations instead.

City leaders seemed open to the shift in funding and project scope.

Whatever’s left of the gravel lot after the practice center is built will be developed.

There is a major change. If Charlotte City Council goes through with it, the city won’t own the facility. Councilman Ed Driggs said that’s a good thing.

“You own it. You pay for it. You pay property tax on it,” Driggs said.

Since the city owns the Spectrum Center, Charlotte City Council was contractually obligated to put at least $170 million into the building for improvements.

City leaders will vote on the new practice facility next month.

The Hornets said it will be done by the end of 2026.

If it was in the transit center, it likely wouldn’t be finished until at least the end of 2027.

Hornets Sports & Entertainment released the following statement:

“Hornets Sports & Entertainment is dedicated to investing in this community and the City of Charlotte, and the development of the new practice facility site is a key aspect in that process.

“HSE is committed to fully funding the practice facility costs above the $30 million provided by the city, and we have teamed with longtime Hornets partner Novant Health to offer a destination for leading-edge sports medicine and orthopedic care as part of the mixed-use practice facility development. The new practice facility is the next step as we work toward our vision of building the premier franchise in the NBA and having world-class facilities.

“We truly appreciate the collaboration and partnership of the City of Charlotte and Charlotte City Council. This plan is a win-win scenario for all parties involved – the city, HSE and the community at large – and an ideal model of a public-private partnership.

We’re excited to elevate the experience for all our guests and maintain Spectrum Center as the premier destination for sports and entertainment in the Carolinas for years to come.”

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