CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte City Council received a briefing Monday night during closed session on potential renovations to make Bank of America Stadium compatible for Major League Soccer, sources told Channel 9's government reporter Joe Bruno.
An official cost has not been set, but the initial estimate is around $100 million to $200 million worth of improvements, including infrastructure and tourism tax allocations.
The tourism tax can only exclusively be used for tourism purposes such as professional sports. That pot of money cannot be used for things like affordable housing or roads, and would be spread out over several years.
Sources said a dome is not under consideration at this point, but changes to Bank of America Stadium could include a middle entrance to the field for the soccer players and adding two locker rooms.
In addition to Bank of America Stadium upgrades, Channel 9 news partners at the Charlotte Business Journal report Panthers’ Owner David Tepper is interested in a MLS team headquarters and practice facility in Charlotte.
Sources told Channel 9 that City Council gave staff members permission to proceed with talks with Tepper and the team, but they believe a public vote could happen while the current council is in place.
A second closed session discussion is anticipated in October.
No Panthers officials were at Monday's meeting, which was led by the assistant city manager Tracy Dodson and other city staff.
Public funding for Bank of America Stadium improvements is not unprecedented. In 2013, Charlotte City Council voted to invest $87.5 million into improvements at the facility, including concourse renovations, new escalators and video boards.
Due to the discussion taking place during closed session, the city of Charlotte was unable to comment on specifics.
“City Council went into closed session to discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the area. Due to the sensitive nature of these discussions, open meetings law allows City Council to protect the privacy of these discussions,” Communications Specialist Britt Clampitt said. “While these discussions are ongoing, City Council will have no comment. Should these discussions progress to the point where City Council is required to take formal action on the matter, that discussion and action will take place in an open public meeting.”
Tepper has been working to bring an MLS team to Charlotte since purchasing the Panthers last summer.
He has repeatedly said he wants an MLS team in Charlotte, and he hired team president Tom Glick, who has run English soccer teams and launched an MLS team in 2015.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.
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