A potential PNC Arena renovation floated by officials would introduce new fan amenities, while enticing a longer commitment from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Home to both the NHL’s Hurricanes and N.C. State men’s basketball, PNC Arena could be in line for $200-$300 million in improvements under a plan pitched by owner Centennial Authority. The proposal calls for new hospitality areas on the arena’s south end, along with new club and concession areas, and office and meeting space that could help accommodate the Hurricanes’ operations.
The Hurricanes are approaching the 2024 expiration of their lease, so the upgrades could factor into any plans to have the franchise commit to a longer agreement. Furthermore, the Centennial Authority–which needs approval from the City of Raleigh and Wake County before moving forward with the renovation project–recently issued an estimate that the venue’s economic impact to Wake County has been $4 billion since its 1999 opening, and believes that upgrades will make it more competitive going forward. More from the News & Observer:
The Hurricanes’ lease with the authority ends in 2024, and the authority report said there were “ongoing discussions” with the Hurricanes on lease term options. N.C. State uses the arena for its men’s basketball games and commencement exercises, and the arena has hosted NCAA basketball regionals, concerts and family events.
The financial request for the enhancement and expansion needs approval from Wake County and the City of Raleigh, with the money being provided through the city and county Interlocal Agreement, which is funded by the hospitality industry’s hotel/motel and prepared-food tax.
“The time has come to make PNC Arena more versatile and competitive so we can continue building on the success of the first 20 years,” the authority request said.
Or as executive director Jeff Merritt said Tuesday to authority members, “We need to make sure it fits the 21st Century model of an arena. … While we’ve done a great job of keeping up the infrastructure and guts and skeleton of the arena, we need to pump adrenaline into the building.”
Years of low attendance figures had made the Hurricanes an often-rumored candidate for relocation, but that speculation has quieted since Tom Dundon finalized his purchase of majority ownership in the club early last year. Some smaller upgrades, such as the installation of a new 3D projection system, have been completed since he took over. If the proposed renovation funding is approved this spring, the project could wrap up ahead of the 2022-23 seasons for both the Hurricanes and N.C. State.