Sports fans, convention attendees and music lovers will benefit from a unanimous vote today by the Wake County Board of Commissioners. They adopted recommendations from Wake County and City of Raleigh staff on how to allocate revenue generated by the taxes charged on overnight hotel stays and food and beverages purchased at restaurants.
“This is an exciting day for Wake County, because we’re investing in amenities that will enhance the quality of life for our residents and bring more visitors to our community,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Shinica Thomas. “Our decision today will benefit our local economy for many years to come and support the businesses who rely on tourism to thrive.”
The Raleigh City Council approved the same recommendations on Aug. 15. With both elected bodies in agreement, the following proposed projects can move forward:
- PNC Arena – The facility, which hosts the Carolina Hurricanes and NC State men’s basketball, will undergo a renovation. New enhancements will elevate the fan experience, enhance seating and food offerings, and improve building infrastructure to attract concerts and family events. The upgrades will be funded with $21.3 million in hospitality tax revenues annually for 25 years, leveraging about $300 million of debt.
Based on the county and city’s commitments to these enhancements, the Carolina Hurricanes have announced that they are extending their lease at PNC Arena for another 20 years, making them our hometown NHL team through 2044.
- Convention Center Expansion/Amphitheater Relocation – The Raleigh Convention Center currently turns away large-scale conferences because it doesn’t have the space it needs to accommodate them. The expansion project would change that by adding 500,000 square feet and 30 break-out rooms to the facility.
In order to add this much-needed space, the City of Raleigh will move Red Hat Amphitheater from its current location one block over to the unpaved lot by the Lenoir Street Parking Garage.
Hospitality tax revenues will provide $25.6 million annually for the convention center expansion and the amphitheater relocation, leveraging approximately $387.5 million of debt.
- Downtown Hotel Infrastructure – Raleigh needs a new, high-quality, upscale hotel of 500 rooms or more to host the additional guests coming to the expanded convention center. This project would receive roughly $6 million in hospitality tax revenue annually for 20 years and leverage up to $75 million of debt.
- Cary Indoor Sports Facility – The complex will provide about 100,000 square feet of indoor competition space for sports such as basketball and volleyball, as well as esports. Located in the South Hills Mall area, the complex will use $5.35 million annually in hospitality tax revenue for 25 years and leverage about $75 million of debt.
The adopted recommendations will also allocate $15.5 million over four years for a competitive funding process for smaller scale projects that will take place in late 2025.
Background on Hospitality Taxes
State legislation approved in 1991 enables Wake County to levy taxes of 6% on overnight stays at hotels and motels and 1% on food and beverages purchased at restaurants and bars countywide. The revenues may only be used to support the arts, culture, sports or convention facilities. For more information, visit our website.