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Spectrum Center renovations begin with ceremonial wall-breaking

The Charlotte Hornets hosted a ceremony Monday, May 20 to kickoff the "RE!magine" Spectrum Center renovations.

The Charlotte Hornets hosted a ceremony Monday to kickoff the "RE!magine" Spectrum Center renovations — an ambitious, $245 million plan to remake one of the city’s most prominent venues.

In January, the Hornets announced major renovations to the arena that includes additional lower-level seats, revamped luxury suites and a redesign to the concourses. The renovations began Monday, and the arena will be closed until Oct. 2.

Speakers at the opening ceremony included Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, Gabe Plotkin and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Steve Bagwell. Lyles said the growth of the arena will benefit the local economy.

“We know that is the way to generate economic growth to create new jobs and really put us on the map as we think about ourselves as a premier destination for major events and attractions,” Lyles said. “This really is ensuring our future. It's ensuring the future that we will be named as someplace that you know — that we can be a hub for sports, music entertainment.”

As the arena starts renovations this week, Hornets Executive Vice President and Spectrum Center General Manager Donna Julian said the team has emphasized to the public that the project will gradually be completed.

“I think we've been pretty intentional on making sure it's a phased approach and highlighting that the arrows are going to hit in the summer this summer and then again in ‘25,” Julian said. "So I think people want to make sure they understand that. Buut no matter what, every individual that walks to the door in October of 2024 is going to see something different. And that's very exciting.”

Julian also emphasized how important the collaboration between the city and the arena was to complete the renovations.

“The City, the CRVA, Turner (Construction), D.A Everett Construction, Perkins & Will, CAA ICON, all of us have worked so hard to make sure that we are prepared for this day," she said.

In 2022, the city-owned arena extended the lease to 2045, after City Council agreed to spend $215 million for the arena renovations. An additional $60 million was also granted to build a standalone practice facility for the Hornets, with the city funds coming from taxes on hotel/motel rooms and prepared food and beverages.

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Kenny is a Maryland native who began his career in media as a sportswriter at Tuskegee University, covering SIAC sports working for the athletic department and as a sports correspondent for the Tuskegee Campus Digest. Following his time at Tuskegee, he was accepted to the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program as a Marketing Intern for The NASCAR Foundation in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2017.