MLS hopefuls North Carolina FC unveil preferred stadium location and renderings

North Carolina FC has announced its preferred location for a Major League Soccer stadium to be built in downtown Raleigh, along with an entertainment, sports and athletics complex.

The club is seeking to earn an MLS expansion franchise, to which its stadium plans have been at the heart of. It currently plays in the second-tier North American Soccer League. Due to the absence of a promotion and relegation system in North America, any club wishing to compete in the top-tier MLS must apply for an expansion franchise.

At a press conference yesterday (Wednesday) attended by the MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott, the club revealed its plans for the project on an approximately 13-acre space in the State Government Complex.

North Carolina FC is requesting that the state enters a dialogue to facilitate a public-private partnership to build the mixed-use community. Through its agreement with Kane Realty, the complex would include conference space, offices, hospitality and retail space, as well as housing and public parking.

North Carolina currently plays at the 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. MLS rules dictate that any team must have a stadium capacity of at least 20,000.

“This is another important step in our pursuit of a MLS franchise,” said North Carolina FC owner, Steve Malik.

“Our vision is to make this facility a crown jewel for downtown Raleigh, providing a world-class sporting and social experience for fans and the community. We are ready to engage all of the relevant constituents, including our community members, legislators, city, county and state officials, to address questions and concerns and bring this vision to life.”

The club also unveiled initial renderings of the project that were designed by stadium architecture firm Gensler.

Image: Gensler