CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - The bid for a new MLS team in the Queen City is officially in, but a lot of questions are looming about who is going to pay for it.
There has been a lot of talk since Marcus Smith, owner of Speedway Motorsports, bid on bringing an MLS team to Charlotte. Who will pay for it? In this case, taxpayers will not be footing the bill.
It’s one of the oldest buildings in Charlotte. Built in the 1920s, against all odds during the Great Depression, the Dunhill Hotel has withstood the test of time.
“It’s been a staple in Charlotte and it remains one of the few historic landmarks here in the City,” said Dunhill General Manager John Beatty.
Beatty said the hotel, and others in Mecklenburg County, have seen a boom in sales over the past year. Rooms have been booking up between popular city events and business conventions.
“The nightlife, the sports arena, as well as the performing arts, this is a great spot,” Beatty explained.
The people who stay at the hotel or any hotel in Mecklenburg County pay a three percent occupancy tax. Part of that tax revenue contributes to tourism funds, which are dollars that have funded some of Charlotte’s most defining assets including the Levine Center for the Arts. NASCAR Hall of Fame and the BB&T Ballpark.
“The occupancy taxes are essentially an economic development fund that the hotel industry uses to help bring more people to Charlotte and help make this a great place to visit and live,” Beatty explained.
Hotel guests are essentially contributing to the growth of Charlotte. Most recently, talk of bringing a major league soccer team and stadium to the Queen City had a lot of people talking about where that money would come from and a concern that taxpayers would have to foot the bill.
Instead, $43 million of it would and could be paid for by tourism dollars. The remaining $12 million, paid for by Marcus Smith, President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports.
“People are looking for a lot of things to do, so anything we can do to enhance those offerings, and anything we can offer our visitors and guests is a good thing,” Beatty said.