Experts review proposed soccer stadium project for southeast Raleigh

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A proposed stadium surrounded by attractions could transform southeast Raleigh, but people in nearby neighborhoods worry the development would push them out.

A soccer stadium would act as the main attraction for proposed the Downtown South project. There would also be hotels, office buildings and more. 

“We intend for this to be multi-purpose, lots of reasons to come here, not just a soccer venue, but every day there would be activities,” said John Kane, CEO of Kane Realty Corporation.

This week various experts with the Urban Land Institute reviewed the project and gave advice.

“We all agree this is a rare opportunity to transform this area into a vibrant gateway to the city and an economic investment that benefits all,” said panel chairman Leigh Ferguson with the Downtown Development District of New Orleans.

They gave options of how it should be financed, who should own it, how to make sure it connects with other key points in Raleigh — along with other priorities.

“I have mixed feelings,” said State Representative Yvonne Lewis Holley.

Holley said she’s excited about the possibilities but wants the existing community to be kept in mind.

“It has one of the last senses of family and sense of community where a neighbor looks out for another neighbor’s child,” Holley said about the area.

She worries people will no longer be able to afford to live there, especially if property taxes go up.

“If you’re coming over and you want to do something, be a part of what’s there and enhance it. Don’t come and push everyone out and make it into something else,” said Holley.

Developers said the $2 billion project will have a focus on housing for all. 

“Where there may be gentrification, there are other ways to not move people out of the area,” said Kane.

He said they hope to establish a public/private partnership.

The entire project would take up to 10 years to finish.

The city and county will also do a feasibility study for the project and will be able to use the panel’s results as part of it.

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