RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Anthony Pope is spending Friday night at PNC Arena with his son.
“My son wanted to see this wrestling he’s been looking at the last two days. I was like, ‘all right, let’s go then’,” Pope said.
As the arena’s leadership looks to revamp the facility and Pope is looking forward to changes.
“I think the parking is a big thing and also the convenience of getting in and out. It does pretty well considering how many cars come in for events,” Pope said.
A consultant is offering the Centennial Authority, the board that governs PNC, a list of 75 potential projects as part of the overall renovation project. They’re ranked by priority but it’s up to the board to make the final call and trim the list.
“We’ve been technically renovating the building for 24 years. We just need to do it on a bigger, grander scale. That will probably take, you know, three or four years, maybe five to actually conclude,” said Jeff Merritt, executive director of the Centennial Authority.
Merritt said the goal is to establish a timeline of major planning events over the next few years.
The consulting firm suggested constructing more permanent food or drink stands and a view bar. Other ideas include enhancing the lobby entrances to better filter crowds, creating more social spaces and building an outdoor event space.
The authority is considering a new entry from Wake Park Boulevard.
“We want to focus on the fan experience and really the fan experience from the time they get in their car to come here to the time they get their car to leave. What is it that we can make that experience a little bit better?’ Merritt said.
With sports betting legalized, you may be able to bet in-house at PNC Arena.
“We’ve been thinking about that for a while and that will be a piece of the renovation,” said Merritt.
Pope hopes that opening more options for seating and food can translate into a more affordable experience. Whatever the changes, he knows he’ll be back.
“I love the arena as it is. It’s been here for years. So, there needs to be some upgrades,” Pope said.
There is no budget for the project but it will largely be paid for with hospitality tax dollars. Even if there were an unlimited budget, Merritt said they can’t do it all.
Amanda Woolard attended WWE SmackDown Friday night. It was her first time attending a live wrestling event, but it was certainly not her first time at PNC Arena.
“It’s basically like a second home,” Woolard said.
She said she’d like to see the suites renovated.
“It’s fine, you know, you feel special when you’re in there, but at the same time I think they could make it where it’s a little more glamorous or you feel like a little more of a rockstar if you are in a suite,” Woolard said.
Refreshing the suites is part of the recommendations.
“We put everything into the funnel. Now, we’re turning it and trying to figure out which one of those things needs to come out,” Merritt said.