News & OpinionWeekly News Roundup

5 Things to Know: City Exploring Bank of America Stadium Renovation Project

...and four more stories from April 30-May 6, 2023

Looking down at the football field at Bank of America Stadium during a football game at night.
The city is reportedly discussing a $1.2-billion dollar deal to renovate Bank of America Stadium. (Photo by Casey Calhoun/Unsplash)

City Exploring Billion-Dollar Stadium Renovation Project

News broke on Thursday, thanks to reporting from Joe Bruno and WSOC, that the city has been in discussions to propose a deal for a $1.2-billion project at Bank of America Stadium that will include renovations on the existing stadium and construction of a new practice facility nearby.

The Bank of America Stadium project, reportedly discussed in a closed session with Charlotte City Council and city staff in January, would need $600 million in public money from the city and county. Funding would rely on an extension of the tourism taxes currently levied on patrons at local restaurants, hotels and motels.

The taxes are set to expire in the 2030s — the food and beverage tax in 2031 and the hotel tax in 2038 — but a bill currently filed in the North Carolina General Assembly could extend those to 2060. Mayor Vi Lyles has voiced her public support for those extensions.

Any deal for Bank of America Stadium renovations would likely quell rumors that have swirled for years around Panthers and Charlotte FC owner David Tepper’s desire to build an entirely new stadium, possibly at the 55-acre Charlotte Pipe & Foundry Company site. A newly constructed practice facility would be built on top of the site where the current Panthers practice bubble currently stands on South Cedar Street.

That facility was meant to be a temporary one until Tepper Sports & Entertainment could get a newly constructed facility up and running in Rock Hill, but that project has since fallen through due to conflicts between TSE and Rock Hill officials related to the development.

Charlotte City Council recently approved a new practice facility for the Charlotte Hornets that will cost the city around $215 million in tourism tax money.

Charlotte FC Forward Tied to Sexual Assault Incident

Charlotte Ledger on Tuesday broke a story that explains why Charlotte FC forward Andre Shinyashiki hasn’t played in two weeks, as Ledger reporter Carroll Walton uncovered a police report linking the player to a CMPD report in which a 23-year-old woman claimed to have been sexually assaulted.

Shinyashiki was not listed as a suspect in the report, nor has he been charged with a crime, but he was confirmed to be one of four people listed as present at the time of the alleged assault in the report. Building on The Ledger’s reporting, The Athletic later confirmed that Charlotte FC player Nuno Santos was also listed on the report. It is unclear exactly what involvement, if any, either player had with the actual incident.

Andre Shinyashiki of Charlotte FC laughs while walking into the stadium, trees in the background, wearing a button-down shirt and sunglasses
Andre Shinyashiki received a contract extension in summer 2022. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte FC)

Charlotte FC has stated over the past two weeks that Shinyashiki’s absence from the pitch was due to “a private matter,” and had reportedly come close to trading him to Real Salt Lake in late April before something brought an end to those trade talks.

Following the Ledger report, Shinyashiki tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, “I’d like to address the story that came out today. I fully cooperated with Charlotte Police and MLS in their separate investigations related to the incident and no charges have been filed against me. I’ve also been cleared by MLS to play. I’ll have no further comment.”

Braxton Winston Announces Candidacy for Commissioner of Labor

Charlotte City Council at-large rep Braxton Winston announced his candidacy for NC Commissioner of Labor last weekend. Winston is running to fill a seat that will be left open by Josh Dobson, who has announced his intention not to run for reelection after succeeding Cherie Berry in 2021.

Winston has already begun his campaign for the 2024 election, joining workers and families of those who have been killed in the workplace on April 28, recognized as Workers Memorial Day, in Raleigh. There were 179 reported deaths in the workplace across North Carolina in 2021, according to Winston.

A man with long dreadlocks rings a bell solemnly while people behind him hold signs and pictures of people who have died in the workplace across the state.
Braxton Winston observed Workers Memorial Day in Raleigh on April 28. (Photo courtesy of Baxton Winston Campaign)

“The primary responsibility of the [North Carolina Department of Labor] is to ensure workplace safety,” Winston tweeted on Wednesday. “I will work to amplify cultures of safety & injury prevention until there are no longer preventable workplace deaths taking place in NC.”

Republicans John Hardister and Ben Moss have also announced their candidacies for the Commissioner of Labor election, scheduled for Nov. 5, 2024.

One Person Killed in Fourth Ward Fire

Sixty firefighters with the Charlotte Fire Department spent around an hour battling a structure fire at a condominium complex in Uptown’s Fourth Ward on Tuesday, later announcing that one person had died in the fire. It happened at the Springfield Square complex on W. 8th Street off North Graham Street. The victim has not yet been identified.

A condominium complex with visible fire and smoke pouring from the top floors
A fire in a Fourth Ward condominium complex on Tuesday took the live of one Charlotte resident. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte Fire Department)

The cause of the fire, which affected 12 condos and displaced 16 people, is still unknown at the time of this writing. Detectives with CMPD’s Homicide Unit and Fire Investigation Task Force responded to the scene to conduct an investigation, along with CMPD Crime Scene Search, Medic and CFD.

Mecklenburg Reps Pass Bill Through House Unanimously

N.C. Rep. Terry Brown of Mecklenburg County joined fellow Mecklenburg reps John Bradford (R) and Becky Carney (D) as well as Julia Howard, a Republican out of Rowan County, to push their Coerced Debt Relief Act, House Bill 561, through the state House on Wednesday by a vote of 117-0.

The Coerced Debt Relief Act provides victims of domestic violence civil relief from coerced debt created by an abusive partner in their name.

“While North Carolina courts have a mechanism to protect against the physical and mental aspects of intimate partner violence, the judicial system is not currently equipped to address the effects and ramifications of financial coercion,” Brown said in a release on Thursday.

Terry Brown stands posing for a photo next to the light rail tracks with the Charlotte skyline behind him.
N.C. Rep. Terry Brown. (Photo courtesy of Terry Brown)

“This bill will go a tremendous way to helping the thousands of victims of domestic violence obtain financial freedom and move past the abuse the victim suffered … The bipartisan support we received, the strong vote at the committee level, and the unanimous approval on the House floor demonstrates that this is quality legislation and incredibly needed in North Carolina. I look forward to working with our friends in the Senate to help get this bill to Governor Cooper’s desk.”

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