City nets Hornets lease extension with Spectrum Center revamp: CBJ's No. 17 story of 2022
In June, City Council, with minimal backlash, approved $215 million worth of arena renovations and upgrades as well as a $60 million standalone practice center for the NBA franchise.
The Charlotte Business Journal's editorial staff has compiled a list of the region's top 25 stories of 2022. We're counting down those stories here. Two years later, the NBA returned with a team known as the Bobcats as part of an agreement that included taxpayers picking up the tab to build a $400 million arena (adjusted for inflation) for the franchise. And neither Jordan nor city government wants to re-live the disastrous divorce of 2002, a shared viewpoint that led to an amicably negotiated 15-year lease extension this summer between the two sides. In exchange, the Hornets agreed to begin paying rent, absorb any overruns and, most notably, commit to playing at the city-owned Spectrum Center through 2045. Those upgrades were overdue -- the pandemic delayed negotiations -- and would have totaled $173 million, according to an analysis by city-commissioned industry consultants. The city, and, eventually, council, opted to spend $42 million more to secure a 15-year lease extension. The remaining $60 million, for a practice center, is to be funded through sponsorship and naming rights sales tied to a proposed arena district city government is nurturing to life along South Brevard Street. In 2019, after receiving an unsolicited bid from developers to build a transit hub on the existing site, the city opened a bidding process that resulted in the selection of White Point Partners and Dallas-based Dart Interests to demolish the existing center and use the 2.6-acre site to combine a new one with a mixed-use project encompassing offices, a hotel and ground-level retail. Likely opening: 2028. Charlotte hasn't reached the postseason since 2016.