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Charlotte outlines renovation plans for Hornets’ Spectrum Center

The City of Charlotte has presented a $215m (£171m/€200.8m) plan to revamp Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets, as well as develop a new $60m training facility for the NBA basketball franchise.

The City owns the arena, which first opened in 2005, with the Hornets operating it as the main tenant. Under the proposed deal, the City would extend its lease with the Hornets, which is currently due to expire in 2030, to 2045. The Hornets would begin paying $2m per year in rent in 2030 and $1.1m in capital investments from 2024.

The agreement, which is subject to City Council approval, would see $173m of the improvements to the arena being contractually obligated, with the money coming from Charlotte’s tourism fund, which derives revenue from the likes of hotel and rental car taxes.

Hornets president Fred Whitfield said the improvements would touch upon every area of the Spectrum Center. Construction work could potentially start this summer, with the project taking four years to complete.

“It will be one of the best (arenas), we’re going to do everything we can to future proof,” Whitfield told local broadcaster WSOC-TV. “It will be a fluid process and it’ll be a partnership.”

He added: “Being able to have a state-of-the-art building right in Uptown Charlotte with the entertainment district that will be lively and vibrant is something that we think will be very attractive.”

The training facility would be located adjacent to Spectrum Center at the site of a redeveloped transport hub. “It’s going to be a great facility that not only keeps us competitive, but also is a great recruiting tool for bringing in free agents as our young team continues to get better,” said Whitfield. “It’s a necessity now in NBA if you want to compete.”

It is expected that should the City only approve the contractually obligated renovations, the Hornets may seek a new arena by around 2026.

Image: Matthew D. Britt/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size