Charlotte could balk at spending $100m on MLS stadium, offer only $87m instead

When we checked in last week on would-be Charlotte MLS expansion franchise owner Bruton Smith’s demand for $100 million in public money for a new stadium, it wasn’t going too well, with Mecklenburg County commissioners saying they weren’t going to put up their $56.5 million share (counting free land) until the city of Charlotte agreed to put up its half. Now the Charlotte city council has set a July 20 date for committee hearings on the stadium plan, and they’re drawing a hard line in the sand:

Former interim city manager Ron Kimble says the city will not fund the full $43 million request and will instead potentially fund around $30 million.

Okay, so: Ron Kimble is no longer in public office, having retired after 16 years to take a part-time job with an insurance company. Still, if there’s any truth to this … seriously? This is what you’re going to fight over, $13 million? I mean, sure, money adds up, but this seems akin to responding to a bank robber by saying, “Fine, but leave me a couple of sacks of cash, okay?”

I’m willing to give Charlotte council members the benefit of the doubt for now, though Charlotte Business Journal’s report that “privately, some supporters say the council committee hearing a proposal signals a willingness to reconsider tourism-tax investment” isn’t encouraging, either. (Though, “some supporters” say? Of course they’re going to say that. Why are you giving them cover by granting the anonymity to say stuff that gives momentum to the line they’re trying to push, Charlotte Business Journal?) Tune in on July 20 and see if our worst fears are realized, as they usually are.

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2 comments on “Charlotte could balk at spending $100m on MLS stadium, offer only $87m instead

  1. I am starting to think that stadium demands are seen partly as public relations for the new team–that is, getting your name out there. I say that as Raleigh, NC (NCFC) also has a embryonic MLS bid and they seem to get no attention. They had vaportecture and everything but because there is no public finance plan (admittedly it is a smaller market so their bid may have other things against it) it appears there is less attention.

    1. That NC bid is coming from a soccer guy. The Charlotte bid is coming from a NASCAR guy. That’s the difference.

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