CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A source confirms to WBTV that Charlotte city leaders and Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper are exploring the possibility of a Major League Soccer team headquarters and training facility at the old Eastland Mall site.
This will only happen if the MLS awards Tepper a new franchise in the Queen City. WBTV previously reported that Tepper’s representatives are working with the city to make renovations to Bank of America Stadium to turn it into a soccer-specific stadium.
During a closed session meeting focusing on Tepper’s request in late September, sources said, council members did not take a formal vote but did give approval for city staff to continue exploring options to fund the project.
According to one of the sources involved in the meeting, council members had a number of questions in response to the proposal. Chief among the concerns was seeking a guarantee that Tepper would not move the team away from Charlotte in the future, although a source tells WBTV that there are doubts about whether a “tether clause” would really be an effective means of keeping a team in Charlotte.
Council members also asked for more details on how the potential facility could be accessed and used by the community outside of sporting events.
There were other concerns from council members about how much tax funding would be available to fund not only this request but other future sports projects, including a new or renovated football stadium.
While there’s no specific number for what it would cost taxpayers, sources tell WBTV it could be anywhere between $100 and $200 million.
There’s no guaranteed timeline for when the MLS plans to announce the newest franchise.