A plan to turn Bojangles Coliseum and the area around it into an amateur sports complex will require an extra $12 million immediately, staff told city council today. Over the next decade, that amount could rise to over $50 million. Those costs are in addition to millions the council approved for the project in last year’s Capital Improvement Plan.
The plan is to convert the underused Bojangles Coliseum into a facility for amateur sports tournaments—basketball, wrestling, bowling—and build a hotel, field house, and retail around it, thereby catalyzing economic development in a downtrodden area of east Charlotte.
Last year, the council set aside $25 million, and opened negotiations with a developer. But deputy city manager Ron Kimble told the council on Wednesday the six-decades old building needs an extra $12 million in renovations immediately.
“To keep that facility functional, operational, in good shape it needs this kind of improvement,” Kimble said. “And, when you layer in the opportunities with amateur sports that will boost the number of event days, we need to make sure Bojangles Coliseum can contribute very well.”
Immediate needs include storm drainage, roof repairs, new seating, and a new scoreboard and sound system. But over the next 10 or 15 years, it will require another nearly $40 million in upgrades—all in addition to the $25 million the city is kicking in for constructions costs for the new amateur sports development.
Councilman David Howard questioned why renovation costs were separated from the proposal.
“This building is a huge part of that operation, which would mean to me that their numbers would include what it would take to bring this building up to speed, at least some,” Howard said.
The money for the renovations would come from existing hotel taxes.
Kimble says the council has known for at least two years that money could be tapped. Earlier plans have called for using hotel taxes to raise and enlarge the floor of the arena.
However, the most recent project update to the council in December did not include mention of hotel taxes being used.