RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – PNC Arena has been home to the Carolina Hurricanes for more than 20 years.
Now, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the Centennial Authority board that operates the arena, say it’s time to modernize.
“It’s a great hockey atmosphere,” said fan Kirby Parrish, who has been a season ticket holder since 2002.
He’d like to see change for the area surrounding the arena.
“The arena sort of sits on an island by itself right now and there’s a lot of potential for what could happen around the area,” he said.
Andrew Nash, another fan of the team, thinks things could be improved inside, too.
“If you just had a destination to come to and spend the day here, I think it’d be nice,” Nash said. “If we had more restaurants and stuff so the lines weren’t as long, that could improve the process.”
The Centennial Authority is dusting off renovation plans put on hold because of the pandemic. Members voted Thursday to revisit those plans.
“There are new ways that people and fans like to view games. There could be standing room only areas,” said Philip Isley, chairman of the Centennial Authority.
Isleys said improvements could also include new dining and beverage options. It could also mean repurposing the ticketing window which gets used less often because of digital ticketing. The final plans will all depend on the cost.
In 2019, renovations were estimated to cost up to $200 million. Inflation likely increased that.
Isley said the authority will have to prioritize the building’s biggest needs. Money has already been set aside for this but there is a possibility the authority may have to ask for money from the city.
With hundreds of events happening in the arena throughout the year, Isley said renovations could take up to five years.
“How do you enhance a building when you’ve got hockey and basketball being played here? So, we have shorter windows of opportunity to do the work,” Isley said.
That’s just half the challenge. The second is re-imagining the area surrounding PNC Arena.
“When you come out here and you see all of the payment pavement, I believe it can be actuated to where people are spending more time,” Isley said.
He’s talking about building a walkable entertainment destination outside with restaurants, bars, and retail. It may also include offices or residential buildings.
The area could be what L.A. Live is to the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles or what The Battery is to Truist Park in Atlanta.
“People are moving here from areas that have a better entertainment and fan experience. So, they come here wanting to have the same experience,” Isley said.
The total cost is unknown. Isley said it would be primarily covered by private developers, whether local or national. The timeline is also unknown but Isley didn’t rule out a 20-year timeframe.
The Centennial Authority also voted to bring in CAA Icon, a sports-centered consulting firm, to help develop a plan for the property.
The authority is aiming to meet with both consultants for the building renovations and outside property in late June. They may get a clearer idea of costs and timelines for both projects at that point.
While fans wait on final plans, they’re staying loyal to the team and hoping for a Stanley Cup win.
“We have a season ticket package now and already signed up for next year so we’ll be back,” said Parrish.