Wake County

City/county split on downtown Raleigh hotel delays tourism spending plan.

$2 billion stadium plan for downtown Raleigh revealed

Raleigh developer John Kane, Billie Redmond, of Trademark Properties and North Carolina Football Club owner Steve Malik, reveal plans for 20,000-seat stadium project south of downtown surrounded by nearly $2 billion worth of private development.
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Raleigh developer John Kane, Billie Redmond, of Trademark Properties and North Carolina Football Club owner Steve Malik, reveal plans for 20,000-seat stadium project south of downtown surrounded by nearly $2 billion worth of private development.

A plan for spending millions in tourism tax dollars will take a little longer after county leaders sought a bigger say over part of it than city leaders want to give them.

On Monday the Wake County commissioners voted to amend the joint plan, which gives money to PNC Arena, the Raleigh Convention Center and other tourism-related venues. The change would require their approval on using tourism money to lure a hotel downtown.

On Tuesday Raleigh city leaders voted against that change.

The plan includes $2.2 million a year for “parking and infrastructure” for the Raleigh Convention Center that can be used to help attract a hotel. The original wording said only the city manager, county manager and the Raleigh City Council had to approve the negotiations.

But Wake County Commissioner Vickie Adamson wanted her board in on the negotiations, to be consistent with the other projects. The commissioners unanimously approved the change, though County Manager David Ellis told them it might hold up negotiations between a hotel and the city.

After the Monday meeting, Adamson said she wasn’t concerned about hold-ups.

“If it’s a good deal today, it should be a good deal tomorrow,” she said.

City Council members seem to disagree.

At their meeting Tuesday council member Kay Crowder made the motion to approve the agreement but strike the commissioners’ change, in essence, putting it back the way it was.

Both boards eventually will have to agree to the same terms.

Downtown South

The joint plan, in either version, doesn’t include dedicated funds for a much-talked-about soccer stadium south of downtown Raleigh.

Instead, the proposed stadium will have to compete for a slice of $46.6 million and against other community organizations like the Marbles Kids Museum and the N.C. Museum of Art.

City and county leaders did both decide to study whether the area can can support a 20,000-seat, outdoor stadium and its impact on the surrounding community. The goal is to have that done by the end of the year.

Called the Downtown South project, the stadium would be surrounded by private development near Penmarc Drive and South Saunders Street.

The idea was pitched by North Carolina FC and NC Courage owner Steve Malik and Raleigh developer John Kane. They requested $330 million or about $11 million a year for the next 30 years.

The money, generated by taxes that hotel and motel guests pay, can only be used for projects that will increase tourism to the county.

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Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has previously covered city government, crime and business for newspapers across North Carolina and received many North Carolina Press Association awards, including first place for investigative reporting. She is a 2012 alumna of Elon University.
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