Plans in place for $35 million Memorial Stadium makeover

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A historic stadium in Charlotte that was recently considered for demolition is now about to undergo a multimillion-dollar facelift.

The American Legion Memorial Coliseum, soon to be home to the Charlotte Independence soccer team, will get $35 million worth of renovations and new construction in order to provide a new home for the soccer team starting in the spring of 2021.

This is a different direction from a push a few years ago to tear it down and build something brand-new in order to entice a Major League Soccer expansion franchise.

The Historic Landmarks Commission worked hard to preserve the history of a stadium that was built in 1936.

There are some major changes that will need to be made during the process.

The existing stands will be demolished so that a wider field can be built to accommodate football, soccer and lacrosse.

“The field is still going to have the same orientation to the city skyline,” said Dan Morrill, the consulting director for the Historic Landmarks Commission. “It’s going to continue to be a horseshoe-shaped stadium. It’s still going to use the rock wall, which has always been a signature element in the stadium.”

Also key for Morrill is that the renovated stadium will continue to maintain a memorial to those county residents who have died in war.

“It’s extraordinarily important for this signature place in the community to have a continuity of culture,” he said. “I think that’s what the plan has achieved.”

The commission meets again June 10, when it will review the design plans and recommend approval.

Jenkins-Peer architects is working on the stadium renovations – the same firm that designed the UNC Charlotte 49’ers football stadium and the Queens Sports Complex at Marion Diehl Park.