Malik unveils MLS stadium concept for downtown Raleigh

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Rendering of the proposed MLS stadium on land currently owned by the state government.

The owners of a proposed Major League Soccer (MLS) team for Raleigh have unveiled their plans for the team’s new stadium.

WRAL reports that Steve Malik, owner of the North Carolina FC and spearhead of the MLS bid, has unveiled renderings and a preferred site for a new multi-purpose entertainment stadium complex downtown.

The proposed stadium will be on the  North Carolina state government complex grounds, adjacent to Halifax Mall at the corners of North Salisbury St. and Peace St.

The proposed downtown stadium on currently state-owned land would house the North Carolina FC men’s soccer team and likely the North Carolina Courage of NWSL, and be designed for other entertainment, retail and residential use.

Malik said that he will partner with Kane Realty Corp. of Raleigh for the project as he seeks private construction financing.

“I haven’t asked for (public) funding,” Malik said.. “But community support and being able to go through a process where you listen to your constituents and mold your final proposal for what’s best for the community, a number of things could happen. One of the things I’ve mentioned is infrastructure, parking and transportation. It’s dual use, particularly when you’re talking about a facility that’s going to have office space, ground-floor retail and living units in it, as planned.”

The stadium announcement came on a day when MLS representatives, including league president Mark Abbott, visited the area and toured three potential sites with members of the Triangle MLS Committee.

“There’s been growth and development in the downtown area,” Abbott said. “And Steve (Malik) coming in, in terms of taking ownership of the club, has been very beneficial for the club. I think he’s provided a vision for trying to grow professional soccer in this market, and trying to bring Major League Soccer to this market. Today was a good experience for us, to be able to meet with business leaders and elected officials, and to tour the stadium site … I think there is a compelling vision (here), not only for trying to bring Major League Soccer but trying to connect that (preferred stadium site) with the downtown area, to revitalize the Halifax Mall, to be part of the vitalization of downtown.”

WRAL also reported that Malik shared the partial findings of an economic impact survey, commissioned by NCFC, that estimated an economic stimulus of $2 billion for Wake County and $1.5 billion for downtown Raleigh on jobs, wages, sales revenue and tax revenue over 17 years of facility construction and operation.

The July 19 MLS site visit, culminating with a 5 p.m. public rally at Raleigh City Market, is the most public pronouncement about the Triangle’s MLS bid since Malik announced his intentions last December.

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