The proposed Raleigh soccer stadium is one of the biggest development projects in the state. The project is a partnership between the Carolina Railhawks, an expansion franchise of the National Soccer League, and prominent developer John Kane. The two have already worked together to create a rendering of what would become the stadium. The proposed stadium would be a mixed-use complex. It would be built on a 13-acre site owned by the state. Currently, the land is underdeveloped.
The stadium would not only be home to the soccer team, but it would also be home to a women’s pro team. It would also be a hub for festivals, trade shows, and concerts. Championship-level soccer events would also take place in the stadium. According to the proposal, 74 percent of Wake County residents support the development. The first phase of development could begin as early as 2020.
The project has sparked much discussion in the Triangle area. Developer Steve Malik, who owns the NC Courage and North Carolina FC, has announced plans to build a 20,000-seat soccer stadium in the south part of the city. The stadium will be surrounded by hotels, retail space, and residential units.
The project is being hailed as a “game-changer” in downtown Raleigh. It will encompass 55 acres of downtown property on the southern edge of the city. It would include a 20,000-seat open-air soccer stadium, street-level retail, office space, and housing. But it would require a massive $1.9 billion in private investment and at least $13 million per year in hotel and motel taxes.
In addition to the soccer stadium, the project also plans to create 1,200 hotel rooms, 1.6 million square feet of office space, and 125,000 square feet of retail space. The project would also serve as a regional convention center and downtown Raleigh. Trademark Properties founder Billie Redmond has predicted that the Raleigh soccer stadium project would generate $4.1 billion in state sales tax revenue over the next 15 years.
The stadium was supposed to be the centerpiece of a $2.2 billion mega-development in the downtown area. But the development partner of the stadium, which owns the Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC soccer teams, has been cool to the idea of creating a tax district to finance the stadium. This would help fund the stadium, since other grant sources would not provide enough money for the project.
A major sports venue would not only provide the city with a staple entertainment option, it would also raise the city’s profile as a pro-sports city. It would also draw tourists downtown, fill up hotel rooms, and generate much needed tax revenue. It would be a boon to the local economy and local businesses.
The WakeMed Soccer Park was originally opened as the home of the Carolina Courage of the WUSA in 2002. Today, the facility is home to the North Carolina FC and NC Courage of the NWSL. It has hosted numerous major tournaments and events, including the ACC and NCAA College Cups. It has also played host to U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team friendlies.