Substantial progress has occurred over the past month addressing the priorities of the Wake County Destination Strategic Plan (DSP).

Funding for an Indoor Sports Complex approved
The Wake County Board of Commissioners and the Raleigh City Council approved annual funding of $2.36 million over the next 25 years for an indoor sports complex in Cary. The $193-million complex will be located on the site of Cary Towne Center and will include:

  • 100,000 square feet for central competition space
  • 12 full-sized basketball courts (convertible to 20 full-sized volleyball courts)
  • The capability of transforming a portion of center competition space into a small arena with seating for at least 4,000 for championship games, non-sports performances or other uses
  • 25,000 square feet of multipurpose space for event support, tournament meetings, exhibit space and walk-throughs
  • Dedicated room/meeting space for esports practice, wired and equipped to meet all esports technical requirements
  • Four, full-sized team locker rooms with showers and separate locker rooms for officials
  • Full-service restaurant and concession capability on-site
  • Commercial kitchen space for events and catering
  • 25,000 square feet of storage space for sports equipment and supplies
  • Elevated mezzanine/walkway space for viewing
  • Load-in and load-out access doors
  • Sports trainer/medical room
  • Weight room, workout facilities and walking track

The plan is to begin construction in 2022 with the opening of the facility by 2024.

Submissions of medium projects for the hospitality tax complete
Six requests for a total of over $73 million have been received for medium projects. A total of $46.6 million is available, and projects receiving funds must have a total capital value of a minimum of $20 million. The review committee is evaluating the proposals and will submit its recommendations at work sessions of both the Wake County Board of Commissioners and the Raleigh City Council in April.

City of Raleigh downtown hotel status
Responses to the convention hotel RFI and office/mixed-use tower projects are due at the end of March. The City of Raleigh and JLL hosted a Q&A session on Feb. 21, 2020, for developers who are planning to reply to the RFI, with a large number of interested parties present. There is strong interest in this project.

Signature events
One of the priorities of the DSP is to attract and host major signature events. The National Hockey League announced that the Carolina Hurricanes will be the host team for the 2021 Stadium Series outdoors at Carter-Finley Stadium in Feb. 2021.

Signature Event Development Pilot Program
The GRCVB Board of Directors has approved $100,000 annually out of the Bureau's budget for the creation of a Signature Event Development Pilot Program, which was also one of the recommendations for Destination 2028 implementation. The board also created and approved minimum criteria for event organizers to receive the funds; these funds will be used for major signature events or staging blockbuster exhibitions.  

I want to thank all of our stakeholders, including the Wake County Commissioners and the Raleigh City Council, for addressing many of the priorities in the DSP. We have taken huge strides already and are well on our way to meeting our 10-year goal.