A rendering of the Downtown Raleigh Entertainment District, to be named Downtown South, which will become an anchor for additional development and growth in Raleigh, N.C. | Graphic provided by Gensler / North Carolina FC
RALEIGH, N.C. – John Kane and Steve Malik announced plans on Tuesday for a development that will transform the landscape of downtown Raleigh and become a hub for sports and entertainment in the community.
The project, which is being proposed by the North Carolina Football Club and Kane Realty Corporation, would address the demand for a large downtown sports and entertainment venue. It is expected to boost tourism, drawing additional visitors to Raleigh and Wake County, create jobs and revitalize an underused area of downtown Raleigh. The Downtown Raleigh Entertainment District, to be named Downtown South, will become an anchor for additional development and growth.
“This project holds tremendous promise for the City of Raleigh,” said Kane, CEO of Kane Realty Corporation. “It’s unlike anything I’ve worked on in my career. To be part of something that would enhance the lifestyle and overall appeal of our city while strengthening the local economy in such a meaningful way is powerful. I’m hopeful that the Raleigh City Council and Board of County Commissioners will enable this transformational project to become a reality.”
The proposed Downtown Raleigh Entertainment District sits on approximately 55 acres at downtown Raleigh’s southern edge at the intersection of South Saunders Street and Interstate 40. The development includes a multi-purpose, 20,000-seat open-air Downtown Sports & Entertainment Stadium surrounded by more than $1.9 billion in private development of street-level retail, office space, and housing. The stadium will become the home of the North Carolina Football Club, including its men's pro soccer team, North Carolina FC, and its women's pro soccer team, North Carolina Courage, and accommodate a variety of marquee events, including concerts, festivals, graduations, trade shows, and championship-level sporting events.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our organization,” said Malik, Chairman of North Carolina FC. “Our vision is to make the Downtown Raleigh Entertainment District a world-class destination, offering an exceptional social experience for fans and the community. The benefits of this project are significant. Between the job creation, economic activity, and enhancement to our vibrant downtown cityscape, we are confident the community will embrace it as the city continues to grow and offer more to its residents.”
The project is expected to generate substantial benefits to the economy, both locally and statewide. A recent independent economic impact study commissioned through Economic Leadership LLC, concludes that over the next 15 years the Downtown Raleigh Entertainment District would generate $3.8 billion in economic activity for Wake County. Additionally, the project would generate 5,900 jobs in Wake County, $20 million in annual city and county property tax revenue, and $3.7 million in new annual Interlocal Funds contributions.
“The benefits go far beyond the proposal we’re announcing today,” said Billie Redmond, Founder of Trademark Properties. “This development is certain to spark other developers and investors to follow our lead, providing opportunities to revitalize and repurpose even more underused property in this area. The Downtown Raleigh Entertainment District would be a catalyst for growth, bridging the space between the new district into our traditional downtown and compounding the economic benefits of our project for the City of Raleigh.”
While the Downtown Raleigh Entertainment District will be privately funded, the group has asked Wake County for $13 million per year in Interlocal Funds (Room Occupancy and Prepared Food & Beverage Taxes) to be awarded for debt service and maintenance of the $180 million Downtown Sports & Entertainment Stadium. Interlocal Funds, commonly known as hotel/motel taxes, are funds already earmarked by the county that can only be used for projects that would greatly increase tourism to the area, including arts, culture, sports and convention facilities.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in early 2020 with the first phase of the development, including the stadium, projected to be completed by 2023.