Charlotte council approves new convention center contract despite cost overruns

Charlotte council approves new convention center contract despite cost overruns
Charlotte city staff update council members on cost overruns with the convention center renovations. (Source: WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte city council approved a new contract to renovate the Charlotte Convention Center despite budget overruns that mean the project will cost $16.5 million more than originally projected. WBTV first reported on the convention center budget problems two weeks ago.

At a city council meeting Monday city staff explained the new cost was $114.5 million up from $98 million. The cause was construction costs with some of the subcontractor bids on things like roofing and concrete as much as 250 percent over the city’s and construction manager’s projections.

“Being off 252 percent on something is hard for me to wrap my head around,” councilman Larken Egleston said.

For many council members like Larken Egleston this was a familiar sight, similar to the Cross Charlotte Trail being $77 million over budget.

“We have had numerous conversations on overruns,” Councilwoman Lawana Mayfield said.

“There’s something that’s broken at a more basic level,” councilman Tariq Bokhari said.

Despite their concerns council approved the motion for the new contract, minus Lawana Mayfield, the sole vote against it. This means $11.9 million will be taken from the Convention Center Tax Fund to help cover those costs.

There’s $75 million in the tax fund before the motion was approved tonight. The bigger question council wants answered is what projects are next. This fund is what would pay for amateur and professional sports projects and with rumors of a new stadium in the works for the Panthers capacity is the part council wants clarity on next.

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