Raleigh Stadium/Arena/Sports Discussions


I don’t think that we can underestimate the impact that the hill on S. Saunders/Dawson/McDowell plays on the perception of downtown’s boundary. Once on the south side of that hill, the feeling of being downtown completely evaporates. I think it’s totally possible to create more of an urban neighborhood experience in that corridor, but I have a hard time believing that it will ever be considered downtown. That corridor is further challenged by some big issues there as well including S. Saunders itself as a major automobile corridor, Rocky Branch and Walnut Creeks, Mount Hope Cemetery, and a significant amount of single family neighborhoods on both sides of S. Saunders. While I can imagine it emerging in the model of Cameron Village or North Hills, I have a hard time believing that it will ever be considered downtown south of Mount Hope Cemetery.


100 story tower, of course


I hear and agree that once over or past the hill (pun intended…lol) that the current perception is very real. However, the idea or possibility of building an arena and/or a sports complex in that area between S. Saunders and S. Wilmington street becomes interesting usage for the current hinterlands…IMHO.
It does have the required direct access to I-40 which DTR proper doesn’t and hopefully never gets…:wink:


I wonder if getting rid of the McDowell/Dawson-Western interchange would remove the sense of separation that you get between downtown and up the hill. I initially was so against the idea of removing it and I don’t think it will ever happen but I’ve come to realize how much of a waste of space that interchange is.


This is the same argument that a small group of us, including Leo, tried to make when the new bridge over Peace Street was in the design phase. Overpasses do waste valuable urban land, create barriers to walkability, and signal a barrier between the two sides.
I wouldn’t hold my breath that the overpass will ever go away, but I do think that accesses among the roads can be improved to waste less land, improve pedestrian experiences, and activate adjacent land more effectively. That’s essentially what happened with the design of the new bridge over Peace Street.


Yeah the downtown adjacent areas make the most sense. In the case of the Cargill/Red Roof area, putting stuff here should also come with as many things as possible to make it feel like an extension of downtown from MLK to I-40. There is a nice swath of wooded wetlands down there that should be preserved to the extent possible, but things like bringing Water Works over to City Farm and Keeter to Hoke should be pretty straight forward. Keeping S Wilmington as that limited access design is pointless and a legacy of the 50’s thoughts for the area.


Lets not forget the BRT is going to go through that area either on Saunders or Wilmington, which should hopefully unlock a lot of development potential.


Is the Exploris building a done deal? I’ve seen renderings for it, but then again, I’ve seen renderings for 400H, 301H, Edison, and other buildings that may not ever happen.

That piece of land at the end of Kindley St. is perfect for a sports complex.


I picked this stadium site because this project is so dear to my heart ! I Wish Everyone that is part of this wonderful blog , site , A Very Merry Christmas ! Thank You Leo for all of these years of being able to share with one another our love for many different projects for our great city ! I think that we do very well on learning to agree to disagree , which is what makes this site even better ! I believe that 2019 will be a great year for Raleigh & I hope a great year for everyone of us ! Blessings My Site Friends !


No doubt

! I’m figuring of some of the cities that I monitor will still be on a growth streak in 2019, such as Charlotte, Nashville, and Austin. Durham and Raleigh are still at high speed.

Could we see 10 projects of 10+ stories in 2019 in DTR?


I sure hope so Ken ! I know that there are a lot of projects on the board currently . We are doing much better as far as the density growth in downtown .


As long as we can hold off another “depression” or “recession” or “economic correction” (whatever the economist are calling it) goodness knows I will be very happy! :grinning:


By Dane Huffman
Managing Editor, Triangle Business Journal

Dec 26, 2018, 5:59am EST in the TBJ

In July 2017, leaders of a bid to bring Major League Soccer to the Triangle unveiled a bold vision to put a stadium in downtown Raleigh, in the heart of the revitalized Peace Street area and a corner kick from the seat of state government.

And a year and a half later, that mission remains just that – a vision.

Steve Malik, the dynamic owner of North Carolina Football Club, has infused a new level of energy into the soccer scene in the Triangle, most notably folding the massive Capital Area Soccer League into the NCFC umbrella.

And he wants to turn the area’s passion for soccer into a spot in soccer’s top American league.

But finding the funding for his MLS – and navigating the Triangle’s tricky political environment, with its overlapping layers of state and local officials – has been daunting. As Malik points out, any investor wants to know the status of the stadium and the lease.

The MLS has set the franchise fee at a whopping $150 million – more than the $140 million Jerry Richardson and his group paid the National Football League for a franchise in 1993.

And the stadium is expected to cost at least $150 million, although the final tally likely would be much more than that.

The Triangle’s window on grabbing a franchise could be narrowing. The MLS will add a Cincinnati franchise in 2019, taking the league to 24 teams as it looks to expand to 28 overall. Then Miami and Nashville, Tennessee, come aboard in 2020.

Austin, Texas, is expected to get a franchise as well, as the owner of the Columbus Crew wants to move the team from Ohio to Texas.

Either way, Raleigh still faces competition from Sacramento, California; St. Louis; Phoenix; Detroit; Tampa; San Diego; Indianapolis; San Antonio and possibly even Charlotte.


Oh, FFS. This whole column is based on the faulty premise that it is the government’s job to spend millions of dollars on a capital expenditure for a private business owned by an extremely wealthy person who would then get to keep all the profits.

If building an MLS stadium in Raleigh is such a great business idea, Steve Malik should definitely build one with his own money. Now that would be a bold vision! And it would be an easy way to navigate the Triangle’s tricky and daunting political environment, with its overlapping layers of state and local officials, absolutely none of whom have shown any interest in showering taxpayer money on this boondoggle.

Seriously, this whole column is so credulously one-sided and lazy that Malik might as well have written it himself.


This whole column is based on the faulty premise that it is the government’s job to spend millions of dollars on a capital expenditure for a private business owned by an extremely wealthy person who would then get to keep all the profits.

That’s the Business Journal for ya.


Please explain? Where do you see or can you provide further details where Malik or others have requested the Governments request to spend millions of dollars? And while I agree with your assumption (at this point) that government shouldn’t foot the bill, there is nothing wrong with requesting a conversation about what I understood to be a win-win for DTR and State Government…as long as again, Malik doesn’t ASK for money…imho


I thought one of the initial selling points of this stadium proposal was Malik’s promise to not ask for public funding for the stadium itself?


Agreed! That is everything that I have read as well…maybe there is something more that is being referred to that we are not yet made aware?


The discussion about a soccer stadium in Raleigh has followed a pattern that we’ve seen play out in many, many cities when pro sports teams owners want a stadium to be built. The first, and most crucial, is that Malik has been extremely opaque about where the money to find the stadium will come from. You’ll notice that at no point has he ever come out and said, “Don’t worry, I’m going to pay for this myself,” which strongly suggests a lack of desire on his part to do so.

The only site that Malik has ever proposed for the stadium is on state-owned land which currently houses work space for state employees. Now, it’s possible that this is just a really perfect site for a stadium, but the more likely explanation is that Malik’s plan here is that the state would sell or lease him the land for below-market value. That’s not just idle speculation: many other cities have gifted land to pro sports teams at below-market rates so that the teams could get a large subsidy while also plausibly claiming not to use “taxpayer money.” But if the state sells state-owned land to a private buyer for less than they could get for it otherwise, that’s basically indistinguishable from giving the owners taxpayer money.

On May 10, the N&O reported that “After originally saying that the 22,000-seat stadium would not use any public money, outside of infrastructure improvements, Malik indicated all options were on the table. He laid out a scenario where the stadium was financed for $13 million a year, estimating that the city and county would each get an economic boost of $5 million in return, plus another $1.3 million in hotel taxes. ‘The net difference is less than $3 million a year,’ Malik said.”

Now $3 million might sound like a bargain, but experience teaches us to be extremely skeptical of that vaguely-worded “economic boost of $5 million.” Is that money the city or county would actually recoup in taxes? Almost certainly not. Pro sports teams are famous for counting all the money that fans spend on tickets and counting it as “economic activity,” when in fact very little of it is actually new spending. (If I spent $50 on NCFC tickets, that’s not $50 that’s magically created–it’s $50 I don’t have to spend on other stuff.) Also, that $1.3 million in new hotel taxes is a wildly unrealistic estimate well beyond the amount of extra hotel stays a team could possibly generate. So if the team stadium is being financed by the state for $13 million a year, you should expect taxpayers to end up on the hook for the vast majority of that. (Again, this is a pattern we’ve seen in many other cities where stadiums did not bring in nearly as much in tax revenue as was promised.)

This becomes obvious once we work backwards. If the stadium is financed for $13 million a year, but the balance to the government would be less than $3 million, that implies that the state is collecting more than $10 million a year in new taxes. Sales tax rates are well under 10 percent, so this would imply that fans would be spending well in excess of $100 million a year on NCFC-related expenses, which is inconceivable. And, again, this also assumes that all of this is magical new spending, and none of it is local residents deciding to buy soccer tickets in lieu of buying something different.

Also, this proposal conspicuously fails to mention how many years it would take to pay off the financing, or who would pay the costs of upkeep and maintenance once the stadium is built. Plus there’s no discussion of what the also vaguely-worded “infrastructure improvements” would be or how much they would cost. (This is another extremely popular wheeze other cities have used to help mask the costs of subsidies for sports stadiums: just call it “infrastructure spending” instead.)

And if Malik isn’t looking for a government handout, why does the government need to be so intimately involved in this project at multiple levels? He could buy privately owned land, finance the construction himself, and the only government OK he’d need would likely be just a zoning variance, which presumably he would have absolutely no trouble getting.

Past experience from other cities teaches us that pro sports teams angling for money to build a stadium should never, ever, ever be given the benefit of any doubt. Given that 1) Malik never suggested that he would pay for this himself, 2) He is now explicitly proposing that taxpayers chip in part of the cost, 3) The estimates of what taxpayers would owe require some herculean assumptions, 4) He appears to be exclusively interested in building on state-owned land, and 5) It makes absolutely no business sense to build an MLS stadium, frankly, unless you’re getting a massive taxpayer subsidy, as most other teams have, then yeah, we can and should treat this as a shakedown for taxpayer money.


Wow, great points and thank you for the reply! :grinning:

Also, as I don’t have a lot of time right this moment for such an in-depth reply, I look forward to getting back with you a little later. However, one thing that stands out in your reply is the number of references to “other cities”?

Please know that quite honestly, while I do understand the need to see what happens in other cities and what has been done in those places, my only real concern is what is being done here and holding developers and gov officials accountable…:grin: