One of the fun things we get to do as a supporters group without a team is day dream about the details that will make the Charlotte MLS club our own. Colors, crest and kits are just the beginning. Since the biggest hang up we’ve had is a stadium, I thought I would bring a fun conversation I’ve been having on Twitter this week with @Pantherzfan4lif to the newsletter. This might become a series of articles that will spur conversation within The Queen’s Firm and help us establish what we all want to see happen.
Charlotteans and those who live in the surrounding area have seen the economic activity that BB&T Ballpark and the Spectrum Center have brought. Apartments, retail, and public spaces have sprung up around these attractions. Soon the developing Legacy Union Project will spring up near Bank of America Stadium. Finding the next area ripe for this kind of development is key to the success of Charlotte, and is a compelling way to sway the city council to invest in a soccer stadium.
Land becomes the biggest challenge in finding a site for a stadium and development when we look inside the I-277 loop, but once we look outside of it there are some big parcels of land with an uptown view. These are also sites within a short walking distance of the planned LYNX lines. Building a stadium and development that promotes the use of mass transit reduces the need of parking structures (except for handicapped parking) and generates revenue for CATS.
So we know MLS wants an urban stadium with access to mass transit. We know Eastland Mall is out of the question. We also know that sharing Bank of America Stadium is not an option as well. So where do we look to put the stadium?
I have found four sites that might do the trick. I’m sure there are more of them out there. Three of them are owned by private companies and one is owned by the City of Charlotte. After looking at the light rail plans by CATS, two of these sites are perfect. The Tryon site (North Tryon St, near NoDa Brewing) would be accessible by the nearly finished Blue Line, and the Morehead site (Near I-77 and Freedom Dr) is along a line that will run to the airport. It is almost a guarantee that line will be built. The city will want that shiny train for everyone to see as they fly into Charlotte.
Personally, I think the Tryon site has the biggest benefits to the city. Today its access to highways makes it easy for the suburbs to get in to, and has multiple roads from uptown, NoDa and UNC-Charlotte. Once the Red Line to Mooresville is in, the stadium will have ready access to most of Charlotte. The development that will be created around the stadium will provide jobs to the residents of the affordable housing units near the stadium site.
According to the 2010 Census data, this zip code is the 2,703rd poorest zip codes in the country. Out of 42,000 zip codes in the United States, it ranks 39,700 for wealth. The Tryon site is definitely a place where sports would be an engine to make the lives of the citizens better. We as a group should want to better the lives of our neighbors.
So where would you want to see a stadium? What is important to you when you go to a sporting event? Leave a comment below or even better come to our next meeting and tell us in person!