Developers in Raleigh, North Carolina, have proposed a 55-acre entertainment district in the downtown area that includes a 20,000-seat soccer stadium with the hopes of landing a Major League Soccer expansion team.
The projected, called “Downtown South,” would also include 1,200 hotel rooms, 125,000 square feet of retail and service space and 1.6 million square feet of office space. Developers say the project would be made possible by $1.9 billion in private investment, with Wake County being asked for $13 million per year in hotel/motel taxes.
“This is going to be something that’s going to be very unique to our city,” developer John Kane said. “It’s going to change the gateway into the city at South Saunders. It’s going to really be a game-changer, I think, for our city, and it’s going to be a game-changer for that part of our city. The Southeast Raleigh sector has not had the love that it needs, and we’re going to try and give it that love.”
The stadium will become the home of North Carolina FC, which plays in the United Soccer League’s Championship division, and powerhouse women’s team North Carolina Courage, which plays in the National Women’s Soccer League. The development would also host concerts, festivals, graduations, trade shows, and championship-level sporting events. The group behind the proposal said construction on the project could begin in early 2020, with the stadium and first phase of development being completed by 2023.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our organization,” North Carolina Football Club Chairman Steve Malik said. “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.”