David Tepper has shifted his thinking on plans for a new stadium in Uptown Charlotte.
What he’s saying: “There’s no way in hell … that I would build a domed stadium in Charlotte, especially after Covid. The weather is too beautiful and if anything it shows you it’s an advantage to have that kind of (open-air) building,” Tepper told reporters in Rock Hill, S.C. on Tuesday.
- He did not, however, rule out a retractable roof, which are much costlier than domed roofs.
- Tepper said he is “not building the stadium alone,” and that the community would have to be behind it. Presumably, funding could come from Tepper himself, season-ticket holders and the city, county and/or state.
Zoom out: Opened in 1996, Bank of America Stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL. It’s in the midst of a renovation to accommodate Major League Soccer, but team officials have said repeatedly over the years that the stadium is showing its age, and will need to eventually be replaced.
- Tepper has said the next stadium will be state-of-the-art, one that the team and community could use year round. Having some sort of roof allows for uses like hosting Final Fours and wintertime concerts.
Tepper floated the idea of building a new stadium on the 35 acres where the current one sits on Mint Street. During construction, Tepper said, the team could play elsewhere for a few years. (The team leases its current property from the city of Charlotte for $1 per year).
“Where we are is a great place in Charlotte,” Tepper told reporters.
The 55-acre Charlotte Pipe & Foundry site has often come up as a possible new location for a new stadium and entertainment district for Tepper Sports. It could still potentially be a new stadium site, Tepper joked, “if (Charlotte Pipe CEO) Roddey Dowd wants to get generous and donate the land to the city.”
- Charlotte Pipe is not considering donating that land, spokesperson Brad Muller told Axios. He added that the company has nothing new to report regarding a possible sale or talks with Tepper Sports.
Tepper still wants to build some sort of entertainment district Uptown near the stadium and near Gateway Station, which’ll include an Amtrak train station. “Coming out of Covid this could be a really good thing to look forward to, and really make Charlotte one of the centers of this part of the South for entertainment.”
- He added that he hopes apartment buildings don’t go up in the area where the district would be.
Driving the news: Tepper and his wife Nicole were in Rock Hill Tuesday afternoon to announce a pair of donations to Miracle Park, a 15-acre park designed especially for people with developmental and physical disabilities. He spoke with reporters afterward about the stadium plans.
- The Carolina Panthers Charities donated $200,000 for a multipurpose adaptive sports field. The Teppers separately donated another $500,000 for the park.
- Miracle Park is close to where the Panthers’ massive new campus will be. The $1B facility will include new practice facilities and offices, plus entertainment, dining, residential, retail, and medical facilities.
“This is our new home and our community. We want to support that,” Nicole Tepper said during the press conference.