With all bids due on January 31, the official Twitter account of the Charlotte MLS bid tweeted out that the bid had been officially submitted to the league office.
This comes just days after the Charlotte City Council decided to cancel its public meeting and vote on the proposal to spend $44 million of tax money to help pay for the $175 million stadium that Smith wants to build in the Elizabeth neighborhood of Charlotte, just outside the downtown area. Many fans were afraid that the bid had failed before it even began, but Smith worked a deal with the league office to submit the bid as it existed, giving the city council time to deliberate and eventually vote on the proposal in front of them.
Later that night however, Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts spoke to the Business Journal’s Erik Spanberg and clarified where she believes the council stands:
“...the consensus is that this structure and deal is not what council is going to support to go forward on. When we talk about the door being open, it is looking at the future in terms of, we know there are two teams (being selected in 2017), and there are two teams (to be added) in the next one to three years — we would be open to hearing something in the future.”
This definitely throws cold water on many fans’ excitement just hours after the bid was officially submitted. There’s still an opportunity for the city and the team to come together and try to work out a different deal, maybe offering more free days use at the stadium or simply asking for less money. Smith could also try to quickly attract another investor that could pay the $44 million dollars that the city isn’t willing to pay. The city doesn’t need to sign-off on the construction of the stadium; the stadium is owned by Mecklenburg County and they approved their end of the proposal last week.
In the mean time, Raleigh submitted its official bid and North Carolina FC’s owner Steve Malik is planning on building a $150 million stadium without the need for public funding. He told the News & Observer this week that stadium plans would be available “in the next few weeks”.
Meanwhile, Charlotte Independence Moves Out to the Suburbs
In Charlotte Independence news, the USL team is on the move again. The team will be moving to its second “permanent” home, this time in the suburb of Matthews. At least in Matthews it will be in a permanent stadium instead of its temporary stands in South Charlotte. The move is in an effort to set up the team to be able to meet the USL’s new second division standards, mainly concerning capacity. However, the new stadium doesn’t meet the the minimum capacity needs anyway, so the team and county might have to do more work to add more stands in the next year or so.
The team has set up a new page dedicated to their #MoveToMatthews with FAQs, an image gallery of their new home, and any new information as it comes out.