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Centennial Authority to Seek $60 Million for RBC Center Upgrades

Posted November 20, 2006
Updated November 21, 2006

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— The board that operates the RBC Center said Monday that it will need $60 million over the next 20 years to keep the arena in state-of-the-art condition.

About $90 million in in local tax money was used to build the arena in the late 1990s. The $160 million facility opened seven years ago —over budget and behind schedule.

Since then, it has become home to the Carolina Hurricanes—the reigning Stanley Cup champions—the North Carolina State University men's basketball team and other events.

The Centennial Authority, which oversees the arena, said the request for more tax money isn't related to operating expenses or use— the RBC Center actually gets more use than originally expected—but is needed to fund future upgrades.

The board is trying to plan ahead for maintenance, sound system improvements and the purchase of a new Jumbotron in seven years, Centennial Authority Chairman Bill Mullins said.

"Taxpayers need to remember this does not come out of the ad valorem taxes on their homes. It comes from the hotel and meals tax," Mullins said. "The need is there to maintain that facility so we don't have to go back and tear in down and build a new one in 12 years."

The RBC Center will have to compete with the new downtown convention center and other facilities and programs seeking dollars from the hotel and meals tax.

Unlike many of its competitors, however, the arena is self-supporting. The Centennial Authority cuts a check to the county for more than $1 million each year.

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