Charlotte City Councilman James Mitchell along with more than 100 local business and civic leaders are in Atlanta, GA for the week for an Intercity visit put on annually by the Charlotte Chamber.
Each year, the chamber chooses a city leaders can learn valuable information from and possibly implement what they saw in Atlanta in Charlotte.
On Wednesday, the group toured the Mercedes Benz Stadium. It is the home of the NFL Football team the Atlanta Falcons. It cost more than $1 billion to build. A hotel/motel tax was created to help pay for the stadium.
WBTV asked Mitchell after several local city, county and business leaders toured the impressive stadium that has a dome, is it something leaders would like to build in Charlotte right now.
"I think the buzz is now we see what it takes to get something like this dome," Mitchell said. "I think we are all convinced that we have a good stadium right now, great foundation. We are going to continue the investment that we agreed to make about three years ago."
Mitchell said the Bank of America Stadium for the Carolina Panthers is sufficient now, but will it be sufficient down the road?
The politician calls the Mercedes Benz stadium a tremendous success story, possibly a success story that can be told in the Queen City.
"I do think the buzz was, is this what Charlotte needs in the future to continue to become a winning city," Mitchell said.
Mitchell says many people associate a dome stadium only with football.
He says he learned the Mercedes Benz stadium is used for more than Falcons' home games, but also used for Soccer games.
The stadium is booked for 17 soccer games and is also being used for 52 other events this year.
Mitchell is serious about bringing back to Charlotte what he learned and witnessed at the stadium.
"For our city, we are talking about something 10 years or 15 years," Mitchell said. "And that is a discussion we need to continue to have."
Mitchell admits there is still a long way to go before even discussing and taking action on a new Panthers football stadium.
He believes before talks begin, Charlotte should consider what Atlanta did before it built a billion-dollar stadium. The city first talked to the team’s owner.
"We'll be interested to talk to our new owner of the Panthers about his vision," Mitchell said. "Secondly there was tremendous political will at the State level - the Governor and the Mayor, and do we have that same political will in the state of North Carolina, and thirdly they tied the stadium actually to an area of the town that needed re-branding."
Mitchell says Charlotte's east side and the West Trade Street/Beatties Ford Corridor could use some re-branding but adds he is pleased the new Panthers’ owner, David Tepper, wants to keep the stadium downtown.
Mitchell says there is lots of synergy in downtown Charlotte.
Besides the stadium, the group will also focus on Atlanta's transportation and infrastructure, affordable housing, amateur sports, education, talent development and attraction and economic development.
The group returns to Charlotte Friday.
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