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PNC Arena renovations set to start next year with some tweaks

Renderings from a study on what upgrades to PNC Arena might look like.
Ratio Architects
Centennial Authority
Renderings from a study on what upgrades to PNC Arena might look like.

Plans for renovating PNC Arena in Raleigh are moving forward with some changes as the cost of construction rises.

One of the first proposals for the $300 million renovation was to build new office space for arena staff and the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. But the architecture firm overseeing the project now says that renovation alone would cost $60 million.

Board members of Centennial Authority, which operates the arena, agreed some of that money should go toward arena enhancements, according to Jeff Merritt, the authority's executive director.

"When the building was constructed in the '90s, it was really kind of all about go to your belly-up concession, get your beer and hot dog and go sit down and watch the game. People's desires have changed," Merritt told WUNC. "It was probably a foreign concept 25 years ago to build a standing-room-only bar."

Long-term plans for PNC Arena include on-site entertainment facilities, restaurants and a sports book.

"Let's say you're coming from Durham or Chapel Hill. I want you to come and have dinner here, but I don't really have a great incentive for you to do that," Merritt said.

"So if we create more of these spaces, if we meet that market need of, 'I want to socialize with my friends, meet and have a great time and drop some coin while I'm here,' that is ultimately what I want to get to."

The first phase of construction is expected to start in the summer of 2024. Merritt said that will likely include improvements to the visitors' locker room, which also acts as the backstage area for concerts.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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