The Charlotte City Council voted 10-0 Monday to approve giving the Panthers $87.5 million to help renovate Bank of America Stadium in exchange for a six-year “hard tether” to keep the team in Charlotte, Steve Harrison of the Charlotte Observer reports.
The Panthers, who will contribute $37.5 million to the stadium project, plan to install escalators, new video and ribbon boards and make other improvements to the 17-year-old stadium.
The terms of the agreement are the same as those approved by the council’s economic development committee Wednesday.
But in an interview with the Observer on Monday, the city acknowledged the deal has complicated provisions designed to lessen the team’s property tax bill.
Charlotte City Attorney Bob Hagemann said the Panthers are concerned that the improvements could cost the team hundreds of thousands of dollars in new city and county taxes.
To help the team, a deal was reached: If the city’s money is used to build new escalators or video boards, for instance, the city of Charlotte would own that property, making it tax-exempt. The city would then lease the property to the Panthers at a fair-market price, which isn’t taxable. The city would then pay the Panthers a fee to maintain the property.
The city’s payment to the Panthers can’t exceed the amount of the lease payment, Hagemann said.
“It will be close to a wash,” Hagemann said. “We can’t pay more than they pay us.”