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Design & Development

Hornets detail vision for ‘reimagined’ Spectrum Center

The Charlotte Hornets NBA basketball team has released renderings of a revamped Spectrum Center, with the arena set to undergo significant renovation work during the next two summers.

The work will take place under the ‘Re!magine Spectrum Center’ banner, with renovations expected to begin in May and be completed ahead of the start of the 2025-26 NBA season.

The Hornets are working with the City of Charlotte and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority on the plans. Other partners include architect Perkins&Will, construction companies Turner and D.A. Everett, consultant CAA Icon, and concessions partner Levy.

In June 2022, the City of Charlotte voted to approve $173m (£136m/€158m) in renovations to Spectrum Center, plus additional upgrades worth $42m, in a deal that will see the Hornets continue to play at the city-owned facility until 2045.

The Hornets’ previous deal at the arena, which opened in 2005, had been due to expire in 2030. The wider renovation project also includes the construction of a new training facility for the team.

The Spectrum Center renovations will result in more gathering spaces for fans, providing increased visibility into the arena bowl. Renovations completed in 2024 will focus on modifications to better support crowd flow, including the addition of a fourth vomitory in the lower level, while in 2025 the main concourse will be revamped to include four themed ‘destinations’ for fans.

An additional 2,500 lower-level seats will be added in 2025, with all seats throughout the bowl to also be replaced. Improvements will also be made to concourse lighting, signage and concession locations on the Uptown Concourse, while the Dr Pepper Pavilion and The Nest will be redesigned this year.

The project will also include a transformation of all premium spaces, the addition of a new Courtside Club, more grab-and-go markets, expanded menu and bar options, more social gathering spaces, and upgraded back-of-house spaces.

Spectrum Center is expected to be closed from May to September in both 2024 and 2025 to accommodate the renovations.

Donna Julian, executive vice-president of Hornets Sports & Entertainment and general manager of Spectrum Center, said: “We are thrilled to share initial renovation plans with our guests, who have been top of mind at every stage throughout the reimagining process.

“We have always viewed Spectrum Center as an important community asset that brings people together and has tremendous economic impact for our city. Re!magine Spectrum Center touches nearly every aspect of the arena and allows us to remain the premier destination for sports and entertainment in the Carolinas, drawing more high-profile events and thus more patrons to Uptown Charlotte, positively benefitting nearby restaurants, bars, hotels and other local businesses.”

In August, NBA legend Michael Jordan’s tenure as majority owner of the Hornets came to an end after a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall completed a reported $3bn takeover of the franchise.

Schnall, who will serve as co-chairman and governor, had been a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks and an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2015. While with Atlanta, Schnall was involved in various aspects of the Hawks’ team building process as well as the renovations to State Farm Arena. Schnall is co-president of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, where he has worked for 27 years.

Plotkin, who will serve as co-chairman and alternate governor, originally acquired a minority stake in the Hornets in 2019. He has been an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2019. Plotkin is the founder and chief investment officer of Tallwoods Capital LLC.