Plans have been announced for a new multi-purpose sports and entertainment hub in North Carolina that would house a 20,000-seat stadium for the state’s United Soccer League Championship team.

The plans were announced yesterday (Tuesday) by North Carolina FC, which has proposed the $2bn (£1.6bn/€1.8bn) district together with real estate development and management company Kane Realty Corporation (KRC). The district would be located in downtown Raleigh.

North Carolina FC said the district would boost tourism through additional visitors to Raleigh and Wake County, while also creating jobs and revitalising an underused area of downtown Raleigh. The district would be known as Downtown South.

Downtown South would sit on approximately 55 acres of land at downtown Raleigh’s southern edge at the intersection of South Saunders Street and Interstate 40. As well as the 20,000-seat, open-air stadium, the plans feature more than $1.9bn in private development through street-level retail, office space and housing.

The stadium would cost $180m and also host North Carolina’s women’s professional soccer team, North Carolina Courage. It would also stage marquee events such as concerts, festivals, graduations, trade shows and championship-level sporting events.

John Kane, chief executive of KRC, said: “This project holds tremendous promise for the City of Raleigh. It’s unlike anything I’ve worked on in my career. To be part of something that would enhance the lifestyle and overall appeal of our city while strengthening the local economy in such a meaningful way is powerful. I’m hopeful that the Raleigh City Council and Board of County Commissioners will enable this transformational project to become a reality.”

North Carolina FC chairman Steve Malik added: “This is an exciting opportunity for our organisation. Our vision is to make the Downtown Raleigh Entertainment District a world-class destination, offering an exceptional social experience for fans and the community.

“The benefits of this project are significant. Between the job creation, economic activity, and enhancement to our vibrant downtown cityscape, we are confident the community will embrace it as the city continues to grow and offer more to its residents.”

The district would be privately funded but the group has asked Wake County for $13m per year in Interlocal Funds to be awarded for debt service and maintenance of the stadium.

Construction work is expected to begin in early 2020, with North Carolina having targeted 2023 for the completion of the first phase of the development, including the stadium.

Image: North Carolina FC/Gensler