Where will money for PNC Arena and Raleigh Convention Center upgrades come from?

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Friday, February 24, 2023
Where will PNC, Raleigh Convention Center upgrade money come from?
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The NHL Stadium Series was a huge success and now it has Wake County leaders focused on attracting other big events.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The NHL Stadium Series was a huge success and now it has Wake County leaders focused on attracting other big events.

To do that, the city and county need to make some big renovations, but the money is limited.

The hospitality tax will help pay for those projects, but we wanted to know; who gets what first?

"It's not easy and we may not do it all at once," said Vickie Adamson, a Wake County Commissioner.

Commissioners and Raleigh city councilors manage the fund, and they'll decide in mid-June about what to do with them.

"It's like if you were to renovate your house, the first thing you're going to do is look at magazines, look at other people's houses," she said. "We have to collect all this information and then you're going to prioritize."

The convention center is projected to cost $425 million to upgrade. Over at PNC Arena, they're looking at least $200 million and those are pre COVID numbers.

The Centennial Authority, which was created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1995 to study, design and do upkeep on the PNC, said they are trying to get real numbers to share with their funding partners.

The hospitality tax brought in $66.8 million in 2022.

"They are both great economic engines for our community," said Philip Isley, chair of the Centennial Authority board. "I would argue both are good investments. I'm certainly mindful that there are others with their hand out including the convention center which has been a great economic boon for our city."

Kerry Painter is the general manager of the Raleigh Convention Center. She said they need to expand because they are out of space, which as she characterized is a 'good problem' to have.

She also insists they need more hotel rooms in the area and a 500 bed hotel is already planned for downtown.

"It does take a good chunk of the pot of that hospitality tax money, but the good thing is that we're part of what keeps the ecosystem downtown functioning," said Kerry. "Do we choose one project over the other? No one is going to pull these out of the ground at the same time. They all take time; they all take staging so maybe there's a better formula where we look at funding to get them off the ground slowly and working our way through them piece by piece."

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