Charlotte council plans resolution to fund Eastland sports project

Council also scheduled to vote on River District Tennis Complex
Charlotte city officials recommended pursuing two public-private partnerships and choosing one later this summer.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 5:34 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte City Council is prepared to vote on a game changing economic development project and make a major promise to fund another. Council’s Monday agenda lays out specific details for financing the River District Tennis Complex and the Eastland project after a WBTV Investigation earlier this week raised questions about how the city would continue to afford these types of public-private partnerships.

1. Council is scheduled to vote on the Project Breakpoint deal with Beemok Sports, LLV.

- A majority vote authorizes the city manager to negotiate an agreement with Beemok to assist constructing the tennis campus.

- Council would adopt a budget ordinance appropriating $65 million “in proceeds from Certificates of Participation (Bonds) in the Convention Center Fund” for tennis campus construction.

2. Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution to reserve public financing for a future Eastland public-private partnership.

- If approved the resolution essentially promises the city “will reserve up to $20 million in the Convention Center Tax Fund for future Certificates of Participation (Bonds)”

- Public-private partnership funds from the General Capital Improvement Projects budget will also be reserved.

- Approximately $30 million total public investment promised in resolution.

Last Monday, a WBTV Investigation highlighted concerns from residents and about the availability of public funding for both projects.

Councilmember Marjorie Molina and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Mark Jerrell, both of whom represent East Charlotte, previously told WBTV city staff guaranteed them public funding was available for the project.

CharlotteEAST Board Chair Greg Asciutto said he wanted that promise and more assurances about project timelines in writing.

“This is where we’re going to continue to be unless staff really puts in writing and council pressures them to do so,” Asciutto told WBTV.

On Monday, Charlotte’s Economic Development Office recommended pursuing two proposals.

QC East @ Eastland Yards

- Six multi-sport turf fields

- Outdoor amphitheater

- Indoor/Outdoor venue focusing on event space, tech, esports, and STEM educational opportunities

Eastland Yards Indoor Sports Complex

- 10 basketball courts/20 volleyball courts/40pickleball courts

- NC/SC Sports Hall of Fame

- Two FIFA regulation soccer pitches

- Total cost $68 million. Public investment is $28 million including $20 million for amateur sports facilities.


The money typically comes from bonds that are paid back by hospitality taxes such as food, beverage and occupancy taxes. That breaks into three separate funds - Convention Center Tax Fund, Tourism Tax Fund and NASCAR Hall of Fame Tax Fund.

The proposed Eastland resolution and Tennis Complex agreement clarify that the money would come from the Convention Center Tax Fund.

That’s the same fund that is designated for public financing to support improvements to the Convention Center and Bank of America Stadium

In May, WBTV reported that city economic development staff presented councilmembers with a potential $1.2 billion stadium project from Tepper Sports and Entertainment (TSE) including a $600 million request for public funding.

A presentation to councilmembers in 2021 showed the debt capacity for the Convention Center Fund and other hospitality funds. At the time, the chart showed the Convention Center Fund capacity at less than $300 million by 2030.

Charlotte city staff say the food and beverage tax that pays for Convention Center Fund projects is set to expire in 2034.