Deal to renovate Panthers' stadium "on life support" - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Deal to renovate Panthers' stadium "on life support"

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The deal to renovate Bank of America Stadium is, so far, not working out planned.

The proposal called for the state and the City of Charlotte to give the Carolina Panthers about $200 million in public money to upgrade Bank of America Stadium. In exchange the Panthers were going to stay in the Queen City for 15 years. 

But the Governor is refusing to fork over taxpayers' money, and lawmakers won't approve a 1% increase of the prepared foods tax.

"My fear is the Panthers stay in Charlotte is on life support" says Charlotte city council member Andy Dulin.

Council member James Mitchell says he's trying to resuscitate the deal.

"We're down to 21 days of us trying to get the deal" says Mitchell, who sent a letter to legislators urging them "to establish a workable agreement with the Carolina Panthers that would tether the Panthers to Charlotte and North Carolina for the next fifteen years."

In the latest move, city officials presented a proposal to scale back the request to an increase of 1/2 % for 15 years. City officials say they would borrow $16.7m from the existing convention center fund to help cover the cost of the city's $125 million contribution to the $300 million deal.

Mitchell, who is chair of the City Council's Economic Development Committee, says he wanted to "show them {legislators} a different option that we're really trying to think out of the box."

But he says one lawmaker has already told him there's "no appetite in the General Assembly for an increase in taxes."

In the letter, Mitchell says "even if the city were to bleed every penny from those existing revenue sources away from the Convention Center... The available revenue would fall short and put at risk any opportunity to tether the Panthers to Charlotte for 15 years."

Mitchell told legislators he "fears the state's failure to do so will ultimately lead to the sale and relocation of the Carolina Panthers."

What's the next step?

Mitchell says if he continues to get negative feedback from Raleigh, he told Mayor Anthony Foxx "I'd like to sit down with the Mayor and staff and talk about plan B and C."

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