Local News

Council Delays Decision on Arena Funding

Posted January 22, 1997

— An ownership group hoping to have financing plans for a proposed arena nailed down Tuesday were disappointed when the Raleigh City Council delayed a vote on additional funding for the building for at least two weeks.

The council voted 5-3 to request more information from the independent group planning the area. Specifically, the council wants more details on an alternative design for a smaller, less costly arena, an option Mayor Tom Fetzer supports.

The Centennial Authority wants Raleigh and Wake County to approve spending an additional $48 million more for a 21,000-seat arena near N.C. State University that also would be home to the men's basketball team. The money would come from revenue generated by the hotel tax levied in Wake County.

The Wake County commissioners unanimously approved the extra expenditure of hotel tax receipts in a meeting last week.

"I can't explain why we are still talking about a 21,000-seat arena," Fetzer said, "and I don't think we will get a true picture of the cost savings until the authority commits itself to a smaller arena. This arena is too big."

Raleigh is awaiting word, not expected until March or later, on whether it will be home to a National Hockey League expansion franchise. A prospective ownership group, including Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates Jr., made an official presentation last week to the National Hockey League's executive committee.

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