In the fall of 2005, residents of Charlotte and the surrounding areas will greet a new beacon to Uptown Charlotte. Located just steps away from a variety of office buildings, restaurants, stores and two city transit terminals, the new arena is being built by the City of Charlotte and will be the home of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats and the WNBA's Charlotte Sting. In addition to NBA and WNBA basketball, the new Spectrum Center (formerly the Charlotte Bobcats Arena and Time Warner Cable Arena) will play host to a variety of events, ranging from college basketball games and tournaments, to popular concerts and family shows.
Charlotte's new arena will offer an emotionally engaging experience for all guests. From the moment patrons approach the new arena, to their final steps out on the way home, fans will be treated to a superior level of amenities. Guests will enter the arena from a plaza either at Trade or Fifth Street. During the arena's first year, the new Charlotte Light Rail system is scheduled to commence operations, transporting visitors to and from the arena.
Once inside the building, a variety of food and beverage options will cater to every fan's taste. From traditional arena fare to fine dining, guests can select from traditional food courts and mobile kiosks to a variety of restaurants and lounges.
Ticket holder comfort will be the hallmark of the arena experience. The intimate feel of the arena will provide fans a unique feeling of closeness to the court, stage or ice while generous seating and legroom will be standard at every seat.
The building has been designed to represent the Charlotte area's diverse urban culture as well as the strength, stability and foundation of the city's heritage. Contemporary elements highlight Charlotte's focus on, and anticipation of, an exciting future for the city, team and arena. The architectural highlight of the building will be a crescent "C" shape surrounding a large portion of the arena, beginning at the entry lobby on Trade Street and sweeping around the building towards Fifth Street. The "C" will serve as a symbol of community unity and as a welcome icon for arena patrons.
* Home to the new NBA Charlotte Bobcats franchise and the WNBA's Charlotte Sting, as well as college and high school basketball, ice hockey, concerts, family shows and other special events
* Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina
* City of Charlotte
* NBA Charlotte Bobcats
* Charlotte Coliseum Authority
* $265 Million -- project and land cost
* Hunt Construction Group
* R. J. Leeper Construction
NBA Charlotte Basketball Representative
* Barry Silberman -- EVP/Arena Development, Operations and Entertainment
* PC Sports
* Ellerbe Becket Architects and Engineers
* Odell Associates, Inc
* The Freelon Group, Inc.
Engineers and Consultants
* Structural (Superstructure / Roof) -- Ellerbe Becket
* Structural (Foundations) -- Odell Associates, Inc
* Mechanical, Electrical, Lighting -- Ellerbe Becket
* Plumbing, Fire Protection -- Odell Associates, Inc
* Acoustical / Sound -- PMK Consultants
* ADA -- Kevin McGuire Associates
* Broadcast / Video -- Patlin Electronics, Inc
* Civil, Landscaping -- ColeJenest & Stone
* Code / Life Safety -- FP&C Consultants, Inc
* Communications / Data -- Thompson, Ross Associates
* Food Service -- Levy Restaurants / William Caruso & Associates
* Graphics -- Ellerbe Becket
* Microclimate Analysis -- RWDI Consulting Engineers
* Printing -- Richa Graphics
* Security -- Kroll / Schiff
* Vertical Transportation -- Lerch Bates & Associates
* +/- 9 acre site
* Bordered by Trade, 5th , Caldwell Streets and Light Rail Corridor
* 470 +/- feet (NS) by
* 550 +/- feet (EW)
* 780,000 square feet
* 150 +/- feet from event floor level to top of roof (110 feet from event floor to bottom of truss)
* 396 feet clear span
* Building is a circular shape with a box truss roof structure.
* Basic geometry is "offset" for ice events to create a more intimate feeling for basketball events in the seating bowl.
* Concourse Widths -- Main 25 feet average width, Upper Concourse 18 feet average width, Suite Corridor 8 feet average width.
* NBA/WNBA Basketball: 18,500
* College Basketball: up to 20,200
* Hockey: 14,100
* End Stage Concert: 16,700
Premium Seat Offerings
* Founder Suites: 12
* Private Suites: 51
* Party Suites: 4
* Loge Boxes: 60
* Club / Courtside Seats: 2,600
Special Amenities Areas
* Sports bar on Main Concourse and off 5th Street -- 6,000 square feet
* Team Store at Trade Street Main Entry -- 3,400 square feet
* Uptown Terrace (Upper Concourse over Lobby) -- 2,000 square feet
* General Terraces -- one each on Main Concourse, Loge Level, Suite Level and two additional terraces on Upper Concourse
* Fan Interactive Zone (open to bowl) -- Upper Concourse -- 5,000 square feet
* Loge Level Premium Seating Restaurant -- views into the seating bowl
Other Building Features
* 24 ticket/box office windows
* 2 fan services locations (Main and Upper Concourses)
* 2 First Aid Stations (Main and Upper Concourses)
* ATM Machines (final locations TBD)
* 4 truck docks
* 2 trash docks
* 1 trash chute
* 7 passenger elevators
* 2 freight /food service elevators
* 5 escalators (4 directly from Main to Upper Concourse)
* Home NBA Charlotte Team Locker Room
* Home Charlotte Sting Locker Room
* Visitor NBA/WNBA Locker Room
* Home Arena Football / Hockey Locker
* 3 Auxiliary Locker Rooms
* 2 Official Locker Rooms (Men and Women)
* 8 Star / Performers Dressing / Production Rooms
Design / Construction Schedule
* August-October 2002: PreDesign / Programming Phase
* November 2002-February 2003: Schematic / Urban Design Phases
* March-June 2003: Design Development Phase
* July-January 2004: Construction Documents
* July/August 2003: Construction Begins
* October 2005: Substantial Construction completed
* November 2005: Arena Opens/First Charlotte NBA game
February 18, 2002
Design with urban style for arena
Preliminary plans win fans with bit of history
Staff Writer, Charlotte Observer
A preliminary design for Charlotte's new uptown arena shows a brick-and-glass building that blends with the urban fabric, offers street-level shops and hints at Charlotte's history as a warehouse and textile mill town.
In short, it's nothing like the last two attempts -- and most city leaders said Monday that was a good thing.
"The design we received two years ago looked like a faddish building that would be outdated in a short period of time," said Mayor Pat McCrory. "This looks like a building that will stand in design for many generations. I think it fits into our history."
Only one council member, John Tabor, criticized the design, saying it didn't create enough of an icon for Charlotte.
The preliminary plans, unveiled Monday, call for an 18,500-seat arena with 51 luxury boxes, 2,300 club seats, three outdoor terraces, a giant television screen, a practice facility, two restaurants and a sports bar.
The plans will be refined after a public workshop tonight and several more meetings with the City Council. The council will not vote on the design, however -- a change from the process city officials outlined in late 2002.
"If we spend all this money and then down the road they vote `no,' it's a waste of time and money," said City Engineer Jim Schumacher. "We decided we would rather have them involved and giving us feedback all along the way so when we get to the end, everyone is satisfied."
Charlotte is building the $265 million arena for an NBA expansion team owned by Bob Johnson. The arena, expected to open in fall 2005, will be built along East Trade Street at Caldwell.
The city's lead architect, Ellerbe Becket, based in Kansas City, Mo., has designed some of the best-known arenas in the country over the past decade, from Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to the Fleet Center in Boston.
But their previous work on a new arena for the Hornets was criticized two years ago as being dull, pedestrian-unfriendly and covered in blank walls.
"We've had a lot of public feedback and we've tried to learn from that," said project director Doug Brown.
The council asked Ellerbe Becket architects to work with two local firms, Odell Associates Inc. and The Freelon Group, to get a better sense of Charlotte.
The new design shows a colonnade along Trade Street with two small restaurants (like a coffee or sandwich shop) and outdoor seating, as well as street-level offices for the Coliseum Authority. There's also an area where a bigger restaurant such as a Hard Rock Cafe could be built.
Architects said they hope uptown workers will eat lunch on the 15,000-square-foot plaza at the main entrance, entertained by outdoor music and other events.
On game days, it will be where "the build starts for the event," said Barry Silberman, an executive vice president with the team. "Your heart starts pounding, your eyes start bulging. We want people to get the sense something tangible is about to happen."
On the Fifth Street side, passers-by could watch the players train in a glass-walled practice facility.
City leaders said they especially liked all the building's glass. "In our existing coliseum you almost feel trapped," McCrory said.
Councilman Pat Mumford asked whether the architects tried to incorporate the existing street-level buildings into the design. It seems hypocritical, he said, to destroy old buildings to build new ones designed to look like them.
The architects said the existing buildings are too tall to fit into the current design, and moving the arena north to make room for them would close off Fifth Street.
Another council concern: making sure the arena stays within the $265 million budget. Schumacher, the engineer, said it will be a matter of setting priorities.
"When we do the first estimate of this design, it's probably going to be over budget," he said. "Once we get that estimate, we'll go back and see what you're willing to cut."
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
January 20, 2006 - The Charlotte Bobcats are the second bite at the apple in terms of an NBA expansion team for the City of Charlotte. The old Charlotte Hornets enjoyed early success at the gate and were solid on the court, but things got sour when owner George Shinn got into off the court personal problems, combined with demands for a new publicly funded arena. Fans began to jump ship, the team got lousy, and the Hornets bolted for New Orleans after the 2001-02 season. The NBA recognized that this was a good basketball market, and once a new ownership group headed by Robert Johnson was in place, a new team, the Charlotte Bobcats, entered the NBA as the league's 30th franchise. And after one season playing at the old Charlotte Coliseum, the dream of a state of the art arena for this region was realized when the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena now the Time Warner Cable Arena, opened its doors in fall of 2005.
|Time Warner Cable Arena Ranking by USRT|
|Fan Support|| 4|
|Concourses/Fan Comfort|| 8|
|Bonus: Entry Plaza|| 3|
|Bonus: Milkshakes|| 2|
|Bonus: USRT Red Carpet Treatment|| 4|
|Total Score|| 74.5|
Getting to the Venue
The arena sits right in the middle of Uptown Charlotte, two blocks east of the corner of Trade and Tryon, whch is the epicenter of commerce and business for not only Charlotte, but all of the Carolinas. (Here in Charlotte, they call "Uptown" what we would refer to as "Downtown"). The entire downtown core is served by interstates - I-77 to the west and the I-477 arterial which loops around the center city. Directional signage off the expressways will take you right to the arena. Across the street from the arena on Trade St is the city's bus station and transportation center, and a trolley line runs right to the west of the building, which will eventually be replaced by a light rail system and will deposit fans just steps from the building's door. There is ample street surface parking and numerous parking ramps immediately adjacent to the arena on the north, east and west sides, with most lots charging $10 for event parking.
Outside the Venue
The hustle and bustle of a vibrant business district can be seen and felt everywhere, for Charlotteis in every way a big city with a big city feel. Tall skyscrapers, banks, corporations, hotels andcondominiums dot the landscape around the arena, with more construction underway. Numerousrestaurants are within easy walking distance, and a hopping nightclub and bar district can be founda few blocks west on Trade Street. The arena itself is a dramatic and imposing structure, withits red brick facade, chrome silver walls and liberal use of glass accents, including a full glasspavilion lobby at its main entrance on Trade Street. At night blue neon lighting give this areaa dramatic look. The entry plaza itself is also quite distinctive, with four huge and colorful pylonsshaped like sewing bobbins, to pay tribute to this region's textile industry. Nice landscaping andan entertainment platform make this a pleasant gathering area. Overlooking the plaza up highon the facade is a huge full color dot matrix video board.
What makes this arena so very special and what gives the building its character and soul is theimplementation of a comprehensive art project, which celebrates this area's heritage and historythrough industry, commerce, the community and sports. It hits you the minute you walk intothe main pavilion, with a massive mosaic mural of male and female basketball players. Abovethe ticket windows in the pavilion are replicas of Charlotte tourism's advertising billboards payinghomage to different regions of the Carolinas.Then throughout the concourses one can find endless arched murals grouped into a street theme - of the city's namesake, Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg; a series of piggy banks saluting thecity as a banking center; an entire food court dedicated to the Wright Brothers' maiden flight inKitty Hawk, NC; a collage of posters of notable historic events; the Faces of Charlotte, the diversepeoples that make up this community. We could go on and on but you get the picture. Add theterrific sports memorabilia, especially along the escalator ride to the upper level, or the framedjerseys representing state high school championship squads grouped by the two states of Northand South Carolina. The entire building is a veritable museum to the Carolinas, and truly unique among its peer venues!Both upper and lower concourses are well lit, concrete floors or terrazzo tile, wide and easy tonavigate, and in addition to the murals are colorful concession canopies, food courts, lounge areasand also a neat gathering area in the upper deck called "Rock to the Rooftop" with bar, concessions,interactive games and a full view of the seating bowl.
The lower level bowl sideline seats are the designated club seats, with a private lounge and concession area at the concourse level. Courtside seat holders have access to a field level bar and restaurant area. 54 suites ring the seating bowl. Additional supersized party suites designed like city lofts and containing ledge seating and TV monitors at each seat are located on the second level. Two mega sized super suites are at center court on each side, leased by the city's two largest banks, Bank of America and Wachovia. A restaurant called the Founders Club offers an upscale buffet before and during the game.
The seating bowl is what gives Time Warner Cable Arena a look and feel which is distinctive and specialamong its peer venues in the NBA and NHL. The signature element here is the scoreboard, a massive, eye popping, jaw dropping four sided affair with huge and crystal clear HDTV video screens. Crowning the scoreboard is a three dimensional true replica of Charlotte's impressive skyline, andthe panel behind the buildings light up with various designs to simulate daylight, nighttime, fireworksamong other effects. It is a show in itself! Once you've seen this scoreboard, every other one willremind you of your old Atari. Ringing the suite level is a 360 degree LED ribbon board, and acompanion dot matrix board above the "Rock to the Rooftop" bar. There is an upper and lowerseating deck, a full level of suites and a club level with the super suites and viewing ledges from theclub restaurant. Configured for basketball (although the arena can be retrofiited for ice hockey),the arena bowl provides an intimate setting for hoops.
Nothing nothing nothing... being a second year expansion team the franchise has yet to achievetitles or retire any of its marquee players. Gratefully, the organization has resisted the temptationto hang stupid banners like "Fans #1" or, like its Hornets predecessors, an "Attendance Champion".
Here again is where this venue truly shines. No detail was spared in providing a gastronomicexperience which will satisfy just about any taste. One of the signature items is none other thana milkshake. That's right, the milkshakes here are to die for! You have to go the upper levelcreamery stand to find them, but the stand is designed like an old time soda fountain, and the shakesare made with real cream, crowned with whipped cream and a splash of caramel or fudge.OK, where to from here... how about the chicken or beef brisket quesadillas, banana cheesecakeand margueritas at the mexican stand; not just french fries, but parmesan gariic fries, Maryland crabfries and cheese fries; or the Carolina fried pickles; the shrimp po boys; or a stacked chicken saladwhich comes in a long cylindrical container - shake it and the dressing mixes with the salad itself.Brick oven fired pizza; panini sandwiches; and this massive Nathan's "Charlotte Foot Long", toppedwith southern style cole slaw. There is much much more here. Good luck trying to find your simpleballpark dreck hot dog and tray of nachos... everything here is served with style, flair and a chef's special touch.
Slam Dunks, Assists, Fouls...
Slam Dunk - to the coolest, bestest, neatest HDTV scoreboard anywhere in sports. The bar keeps getting raised among the franchises for new technological breakthroughs. For now Charlotte holds the title, case closed!
Assist - Out of town scores. They are only shown sporadically in the seating bowl itself, but cool high tech scrolling ticker boards are interspersed throughout all the arena's concourses and lounges, displaying NBA, NHL and NCAA scores in real time. (Yes those NCAA scores include the small conferences, so we got to know instantly that both our MAAC teams, Canisius and Niagara went down to defeat on this night).
Foul - The USRT Karma always seems to struggle in the City of Charlotte, and tonight was no exception as the Bobcats fell behind early to the visiting Orlando Magic and lost 104-93, with Jake Voskuhl putting in a Jason Kapono-like, 5 point-5 foul performance. Add this to our Bobcats loss at the Coliseum a year ago, a Panthers loss during their dreadful 1-15 season, and the Hornets VICTORY over Peter's beloved New York Knicks. We don't do too well here, do we?!
Foul - Perhaps it's a hangover from the George Shinn era, but fans here haven't totally embraced their new NBA team. Sellouts are not the norm, and the "wow factor" of a new venue has still meant yawning gaps of empty seats on some game nights, though things are improving. Nothing that a winning program won't cure, but for now we would like to light a fire under the hoops fans of the Carolinas to support their team!
Slam Dunk - and SPECIAL THANKS to the Charlotte Bobcats management who made our visit to their venue a truly extraordinary one. Arena Chief Operating Officer BARRY SILBERMAN and Public Relations Director JAMIE BANKS took us on an extensive VIP tour of the building. Media Relations Manager TALYSE KROLEWICZ arranged for press credentials, and Head Chef JIM ABBEY took us on a culinary tour of the arena where we got to sample all the great food. Thanks to all of you and we are proud to induct you into the Ultimate Sports Road Trip Hall of Fame.
Assist - "Brush with Greatness"... dining at the next table in the Founders Club was none other than Mike Hulbert, member of the PGA Pro Tour and native of Peter's home town of Horseheads, NY. Mike was attending the game as a fan of his Orlando Magic and exchanged a few words with Peter.
Slam Dunk - Rock to the Rooftop is open after games, with full bar service and concessions and interactive games open for business, as well as a DJ and dance floor set up. We visited after the game, and the place was hopping with music, dancing and a younger crowd having a great time.
Slam Dunk - to the game day staff. This is our third NBA game in Charlotte (Hornets '01, Bobcats '04) and we were always impressed with the friendly and laid back ushers, ticket takers and security staff here. Always polite, always aiming to please, thanking fans for their patronage as they exit the arena. This is how it should be done! Take a lesson... LA Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and especially the miserable sphincter police at NJ Nets games!
Assist - On one showcase display in the main lobby are the names of every city and town in the Carolinas beveled onto the glass. Yet another nice local touch!
Locating another NBA franchise here in Charlotte was clearly the right thing to do - this is a storied region when it comes to college and professional basketball, and the Bobcats have fulfilled a longtime dream by getting a state of the art venue located right in the heart of all the action. Time Warner Cable Arena does not disappoint; instead it dazzles the senses with dramatic architecture, with superior technological enhancements, superb fan amenities, a commitment to its civic and athletic heritage and an overall total customer experience which will have one coming again and again. Is this the best venue in the NBA? Certainly some of the other new venues can attempt to make that argument, and the vaunted Conseco Fieldhouse of Indianapolis has earned our top distinction in the past. But like Conseco - even an out of town visitor can appreciate the local touches which provide a trip down memory lane for the local folks. Make no mistake - Time Warner Cable Arena can easily stake a claim as one of THE elite venues not only in basketball, but among all four major sports. Surely architects for other venues yet to follow will be coming here to emulate its distinctive design elements.
BOBCATS OWNERS REJECT CASH CALL
April 16, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Charlotte, N.C. - Reports say the owners of the Charlotte Bobcats have rejected a $28 million
cash call from majority owner Bob Johnson and they've been told to expect about $35 million in
losses over the next two years.
The reports say it seems unlikely the Bobcats would consider a move out of Charlotte in the
foreseeable future. Team owners would have to pay tens of millions in penalties under terms of the
arena lease, and there would be few non-NBA cities in a position to provide the Bobcats with a
facility comparable to Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Bobcats face a rough economy and tepid fan interest. According to a home-attendance
comparison at ESPN.com, the Bobcats are 26th among 30 NBA teams, averaging 14,526 fans. Only
Minnesota, Indiana, Memphis and Sacramento trail the Bobcats this season.
Johnson bought the Bobcats as an expansion team, replacing the Charlotte Hornets. The team
began play in 2004, following Johnson's initial investment of about $330 million - a $300 million
expansion fee, plus about $30 million in working capital.
The Bobcats would have made a profit their first season, playing in the since- demolished
Charlotte Coliseum, but team not simultaneously launched a regional sports cable network. The
reports say a potential multi-million-dollar profit was more than consumed by a $17 million loss on
the network, which folded.
When the Bobcats moved into a new, publicly funded uptown building, ticket prices rose
substantially. The team has invested in its product under managing partner Michael Jordan, hiring
Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown and making three trades this season to upgrade the roster.
Despite that, the Bobcats are essentially flat in attendance compared to last season and down
nearly 2,000 per game from 2005-06, their first season uptown.
Johnson has asked the partners for more cash in the past. Declining to participate in a cash call
would reduce a partner's stake in the team.
JOHNSON WANTS TO SELL BOBCATS
May 28, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Charlotte, N.C. - Robert Johnson hoped to breathe new life into the Charlotte NBA market with
a new team and superstar Michael Jordan as head of basketball operations, but now he's looking to
sell his stake and has hired a firm to locate new investors.
Reports say the team is priced at $325 million to $350 million. Johnson paid a $300 million
expansion fee when he bought the team in 2003.
The team has failed to perform financially as hoped and about 35 non-basketball staff members
have been laid off.
If the team is sold, it's not expected that it would be moved out of Charlotte because of
penalties written into the lease for Time Warner Cable Arena.
Under the terms of the deal, the city can seek an injunction to force the team to honor the
commitment to play or can ask for liquidated damages of $200 million in the first five years. That
would take the team until 2010. After that, it would cost $150 million in years five to 10, and a
declining balance going from $85 million in year 11 down to $7 million in year 25 for the team to
CHARLOTTE TEAM SAYS IT'S NOT MOVING TO SUBURBAN ARENA
November 5, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Charlotte, N.C. - The ECHL Charlotte Checkers say reports that the team will be moving to a
new 8,000-seat arena planned for suburban Matthews are speculative.
The team was mentioned in casual conversations about a potential arena being built in the
Matthews Sportsplex, a 125-acre sports complex proposed for the area near the U.S. 74/Interstate
The Checkers have second choice of dates at Time Warner Cable Arena, behind the NBA
Bobcats, the primary tenant and operator of the arena.
Checkers owner Michael Kahn said he plans to keep the team uptown, but the team's chief
operating officer says the franchise wants to have options.
"There is nothing to this story, it's very presumptuous and speculative," said Kahn, who has
owned the team since 2006. "I have no interest in leaving uptown Charlotte."
The $50 million arena plan will be brought before Mecklenburg County officials later this
month. The venue would be part of a larger complex that includes hotels, restaurants and offices.
A pair of bond packages approved by county voters in 2004 and 2008 paved the way for the $32
million sports complex already approved for Matthews.
The project includes five soccer fields and a parking lot, according to the park and recreation
department. Work is expected to begin next year.
The finished complex will house 12 soccer fields, including a 5,000-seat stadium for soccer and
football. Matthews is investing $2 million, with the other $30 million coming from the county