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Life on Campus at NC State: PNC Arena's $1.1B Renovation & Development Plan

Life on Campus at NC State: PNC Arena's $1.1B Renovation & Development Plan
PNC Arena Renovation/Development plans are in motion. How will this impact NCSU tailgating?

On Tuesday 8/15, Raleigh-area media was filled with news about PNC Arena's renovations and the development of the 80 acres directly around PNC (currently surface-level asphalt parking and vacant land) after a number of approvals were announced. The final approval from the Wake County Board of Commissioners was later announced on 8/21.

In December 2022, I posted a write-up about the background of the Arena and what was in play at that time. Immediately prior to the recent announcement and press conference on 8/15, I posted an update in an August 2023 write-up detailing the new information that had been released since December.

As a very high-level summary: An 80-acre, $800M development of various mixed-use buildings will be constructed in phases atop the parking lots circling PNC Arena over the next ~2o years. There will also be $300M of renovations to PNC Arena that will also occur. In total, this announcement will bring $1.1B of investment to PNC Arena and the surrounding land.

In this post, I've pulled together the key details released as part of the PNC Arena renovation/development announcement. If you have any interest in additional reading on this announcement, reference the following articles available from these local media sources:

There are (a lot) of additional details below, but if you're only interested in the highlights of what was announced:

  1. (+) The Canes stay in Raleigh
  2. (+) NCSU MBB receives an updated arena
  3. (+) NCSU MBB gets an improved game-day experience around PNC Arena
  4. (+) None of this will cost NC State a dime
  5. (+) A new 5-acre tailgate area will be established between PNC and C-F
  6. (-) Approximately 2,000 tailgating spaces will be lost around PNC

Parking & Tailgating:

  • At least 95% of the parking lost during each phase of the development around PNC must be replaced with either surface or deck parking. Per WRAL, there are 14,000 total parking spaces used for games at Carter-Finley, but only 4,100 of those spaces are located in the PNC lots that will be impacted.
  • At least 50% of the impacted parking at PNC Arena will be replaced with surface-level parking and the other 50% of parking will be replaced with parking decks. This means that approximately 2,000 surface lot spaces around PNC will be relocated to decks, which works out to just 14% of total football parking. This was echoed by Boo Corrigan in the Canes' Twitter video of the joint press conference:
  • No vertical mixed-use development will be allowed in a 5-acre "tailgate zone" for NC State football games in an area of the property closest to Carter-Finley (what this will look like is a total mystery as of now). Phil Isley, Centennial Authority Chair, mentioned in this interview with Joe Ovies that the area is envisioned to be something "Ole Miss style" like "The Grove".
  • Any parking deck constructed on the PNC Arena land can be no larger than 3 levels - 1 below ground and 2 above.

If all of this holds true, it means the tailgate impact for the 80 acres of land around PNC Arena will be that:

  • 5 acres of the total 80 acres will be set aside specifically for tailgating;
  • 50% of the parking currently around PNC Arena will be replaced with surface-level parking that can also be used for tailgating - just as it is now - with a loss of ~2,000 tailgating spaces that would be relocated to decks; and
  • These plans will not impact any of the ~97 acres of land that Carter-Finley sits on, or the other land parcels to the east, which means that these lots can also still be used for tailgating - just as they are now.

See the map below for where the PNC Arena land ends and the Carter-Finley land begins. The area between PNC Arena and E Stephen Stroud Way is what this development will impact.

Imagery from Raleigh iMaps

Area Development:

  • The estimated $800M development of the 80 acres around PNC Arena will occur in phases over ~20 years.
  • The first phase will cost approximately $200M, be comprised of 20 of the total 80 acres, and must be completed within 5 years of this announcement. This phase will include 100k sqft of retail & restaurant space, 150k sqft of office, 200 apartment units (of which 10% are to be deemed "affordable" at 80% of the area median income), and a 150-room hotel.
  • This first phase will also include an indoor music venue that will be built adjacent to PNC Arena, will hold 3k-5k people, and will cost between $40M-$50M. This addition will be included in Phase 1, but is supposedly being financed by Tom Dundon. The venue is expected to function for concerts/events/festivals on a smaller scale than those typically held at PNC.
  • Each of the following development phases is not allowed to exceed 20 acres.
  • $400M of development must occur within 10 years and $800M must occur within 20 years.
  • Gale Force Holdings (the entity that manages PNC Arena) will ground lease the land around PNC from the Centennial Authority (the entity that owns PNC Arena) through 2096. The Centennial Authority leases this same land from the ultimate owner of all 80 acres, the State of North Carolina. The money that Gale Force will pay to the Centennial Authority as part of this arrangement will be used to fund various projects at PNC Arena over this period.
  • Gale Force will pay 6% of the annual land value to the Centennial Authority to lease the property through 2096 (at that point in human history, I'm assuming that NCSU MBB will be playing in a renovated Reynolds Coliseum located on the moon).
  • The 'Canes & Gale Force are financially responsible for all private renovations to the Arena - and all infrastructure improvements on the surrounding land - which will include improved access from both Wade Ave and Edwards Mill Rd (It's a pretty huge deal that NCSU has no financial obligation here).
  • The above financial commitment from the 'Canes & Gale Force is in exchange for a property tax reduction/exemption (not certain which applies in this case) for PNC Arena, but property tax will eventually be paid again once those private renovation/infrastructure costs are recovered.

Renovation Plans:

  • The Centennial Authority will invest up to a total of $300M in renovations for PNC Arena that will take place over the next 4-5 years, with all of the renovations set to be completed by the '27-'28 NHL season.
  • This $300M is sourced from a debt borrowing, with PNC set to receive ~$21M annually beginning in 2025 from hotel and restaurant taxes for a period of 25 years to pay down the debt servicing on the loan, pay for maintenance costs, etc.
  • These renovations will include some combination of a sports book betting area, new concession stands that open into the arena bowl, private concession/club areas under the stands that lead out into seating sections, a rooftop deck, a new building exterior, new traffic entrances to the parking lots, etc.
  • The Canes will kick in $10M to help build out the sports betting lounge, the Canes' staff office space, and new premium suite/box seating areas.

Not many visuals have yet been shared for these renovations, but this WRAL link includes renderings of what some of the changes were slated to look like back in 2018. A video of recently released renderings of some of these proposed renovations can be found here from the N&O, and the below article from RALToday includes a few renderings as well.

Carolina Hurricanes extend PNC Arena lease and commit to $800 million in developments
The NHL franchise finalized a deal with the Centennial Authority to extend its lease at the PNC Arena until 2044.

Hurricanes' Lease Details:

  • The Hurricanes agreed to a 20-year lease extension at PNC Arena that will begin after the '23-'24 season, which ties the team to PNC through 2044.
  • However, after the '38-'39 NHL season, the Canes and the owner of PNC Arena (the Centennial Authority) will negotiate on whether there will be any future changes to PNC Arena or if the Arena is best suited to be replaced. If no agreement is reached, the 20-year lease could be terminated early at that time.
  • Starting with the '29-'30 season, the Canes will pay $4.5M+ in annual rent to the Centennial Authority. The payments will ultimately total $75M over the life of the lease. Up until that point, the Canes will pay no rent (there's a Turnpike Troubadours joke somewhere in here) to utilize PNC Arena.

NCSU MBB's Lease Details:

  • Nothing changes here. NCSU signed a 99-year lease at PNC Arena for MBB at some point in the 1990s as a way to help get PNC built in the first place. The Tweet below from Debbie Yow is the most recent info I've seen on this:


  • The 'Canes will attempt to hold another NHL All-Star Game within 3-years of the PNC Arena renovations being completed and another NHL Stadium Series game within 5-years of the Canes' lease extension.
  • Negotiations for the naming rights of PNC Arena will begin at some point during the initial renovation/development process as well.


I included my opinions about all of this in my December 2022 post, but wanted to include a couple of maps here to put things in perspective about what's going on in the area:

Projects coming to the "Blue Ridge Corridor"

There is a massive amount of public/private investment coming to the land - and the roads/infrastructure - in the Blue Ridge Corridor near PNC Arena and Carter-Finley. Bandwidth and the NC DHHS projects alone (called out in the map above) will bring thousands of jobs to this area. This momentum - as well as Tom Dundon's purchase of the 'Canes - has finally been the catalyst for developing the surface parking around PNC Arena. The Canes' previous owner, Peter Karmanos, apparently had this same right, but never exercised it for one reason or another.

Land Owners for Parcels Adjacent to Trinity Road per Raleigh iMAPS

Shading Key for Which Entity Owns each Land Tract:

  • Blue/Gray: "North Carolina State of State Property Office"
  • Red: "The Board of Trustees of the Endowment Fund of NCSU"
  • Green: "The Station at Raleigh Property Owner LLC - Landmark Properties"
  • Yellow: "F7 West LLC - The Brookdale Group" (West Chase Office/Parking)
  • Pink: "Raleigh School Inc. - The Raleigh Preschool Inc."
  • Black: "P&S Inc." (Four Points by Sheraton Raleigh Arena)
  • White: "Wendy's Properties, Inc."
  • Turquoise: "COC Real Estate Co LLC" (Cary Oil)
  • Orange: "Backyard Bistro Properties Inc."

In looking at the map above for who owns these properties, it's easily apparent to see that the State of North Carolina is the major player here. However, in the same interview with Joe Ovies that I linked above, Phil Isley (Centennial Authority Chair) mentioned that the State of NC is looking to sell some of its other "underutilized assets" in the area. Phil Isley specifically mentioned the sale of a "one-story textbook warehouse", "emergency management stuff that can be relocated other places", etc.

While the land mentioned doesn't include the huge tract of land that the NC Fairgrounds sits on, it does seem to include the other blue/gray shaded land on the PNC/Carter-Finley side of Trinity in the map above - as well as other state-owned lots across Blue Ridge Rd.

I continue to wonder why someone in the local media hasn't asked the powers that be with the State of North Carolina Property Office if there are any plans to develop the North Carolina State Fairgrounds land (or maybe there's some restriction to developing that land that I'm totally unaware of). To put into context just how large the Fairgrounds' parcel of land is across Trinity Rd. from Carter-Finley: PNC Arena sits on 80 acres, Carter-Finley sits on ~97 acres, and the Fairgrounds sit on ~199 acres.

Dorton Arena is located there, but it opened in 1952 and honestly feels much older than that. Also, the North Carolina State Fair obviously uses these grounds for 2 weeks during the year. However, during the rest of the year, these grounds are used for a variety of tradeshows that cannot possibly provide anywhere near the economic impact to the area as the alternative would of developing at least some of this land into a mixed-use destination.

Another alternative would be to use part of these 199 acres for additional tailgate lots. I just firmly believe the Fairgrounds land could be much better utilized to accommodate the growth that Raleigh is experiencing.


This is going to be a very long-term project spanning at least two decades. And just to reinforce this point, not every single tailgate space at PNC Arena will immediately vanish at the end of the 2023 NCSU football season (despite the reaction you may have seen across social media). As referenced at the top of this post, the net result is essentially:

  • (+) The Canes stay in Raleigh
  • (+) NCSU MBB receives an updated arena
  • (+) NCSU MBB gets an improved game-day experience around PNC Arena
  • (+) None of this will cost NC State a dime
  • (+) A new 5-acre tailgate area will be established between PNC and C-F
  • (-) Approximately 2,000 tailgating spaces will be lost around PNC

All in all, that sounds like a pretty great result for each of the parties involved (to me at least).

Go Pack. Go Canes. Go Tailgating.