Ground Broken Monday for Raleigh Arena
Posted July 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — The budget battle that preceded approval of Raleigh's proposed arena was dirty, but it couldn't hold a candle to the shovels full of mud that flew Monday at the arena's official groundbreaking ceremony.
The ceremonial shovels may have grabbed all the attention, but the real work is already well underway on Raleigh's $120 million entertainment and sports arena.
Monday was merely a day to thank the North Carolina State University and the National Hockey League, both of which will call the arena home when it is completed. Also thanked were Raleigh and Wake County leaders, the Centennial Authority and some with no authority whatsoever. Nearly every speaker mentioned the many disagreements that marked the road Monday's ceremony.
Governor Jim Hunt said all the participants learned a lesson as they dodged the potholes along the way.
State tax dollars will pay for the interchange that will connect the arena with Wade Avenue and points beyond.
When the arena opens, the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes will be high-profile tenants, but so far, season ticket sales have been soft. Team owner Peter Karmanos says he's optimistic and willing to wait for success to come.
Karmanos says that the Hurricanes have sold less than 4,000 season tickets so far -- his goal is to sell 12,000. They say that the team can make just as much money as they did in Hartford, if they sell half of the goal.
Team officials insist that the goal is still reachable, because the Hurricanes just started their corporate sales pitch.