RALEIGH, N.C. – With Major League Soccer (MLS) executives on hand at City Market on Wednesday, the North Carolina Football Club unveiled renderings for a downtown stadium that could be the home of a future MLS franchise.
It was all part of a full day of meetings, presentations, and a rallying celebration attended by supportive fans to show that the Triangle is prepared to take the next step in hosting a top-tier professional soccer team.
A new stadium was the crown jewel of the presentation that North Carolina FC owner Steve Malik unveiled that would be located on a footprint (approximately 13 acres) in the area currently known as the State Government Complex, located within the boundaries of Peace St., Salisbury St., Lane St. and the N.C. Railroad easement.
The public presentation was the first stage in asking the State of North Carolina to enter into a dialogue to facilitate a public-private partnership to build a mixed-use community featuring an entertainment, sports and athletics venue that would become home to a Major League Soccer (MLS) team.
North Carolina FC’s bid is one of 12 currently being considered by the league which seeks to add two more franchises in the near future.
The stadium plan, in partnership with Kane Realty, would include conference space; office, hospitality and retail space; and housing and public parking.
“This is another important step in our pursuit of a Major League Soccer franchise,” Malik said.
“Our vision is to make this facility a crown jewel for downtown Raleigh, providing a world-class sporting and social experience for fans and the community. We are ready to engage all of the relevant constituents, including our community members, legislators, city, county and state officials, to address questions and concerns and bring this vision to life.”
The designs were created by Gensler, a firm identified as a global leader in areas such as stadium architecture, design, planning and consulting.
Malik and his staff compiled and utilized information from an economic development study conducted by Economic Leadership LLC that indicated that the combination of bringing an MLS expansion team, building a soccer-specific stadium and establishing a mixed-use development for residents to live, work and play could generate significant benefits to the local economy and the state as a whole.
According to the study, over the course of the next 17 years, such a public-private partnership would be expected to provide a net present value of $2.8 billion to the state of North Carolina, generating $262 million annually in state economic activity and create or support almost 2,000 jobs.
In addition, it could create an additional $5.6 million in state taxpayer revenue each year.
Even though in its early stages of consideration, as MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott and other league executives looked on, Malik and North Carolina FC and its fans made an impressive and exuberant showing on what the future of Raleigh would look like with MLS a part of it.