Business

Here’s what upgrades are coming next to Charlotte Hornets’ arena

Rendering of the new fan shop in the Spectrum Center
Rendering of the new fan shop in the Spectrum Center Courtesy of the Charlotte Hornets

As part of a planned phase of renovations at the Spectrum Center uptown, the Charlotte Hornets will be switching the locations of the box office and the fan shop.

That means the box office will move down to a street-level spot on Trade Street, the team said on Monday. The fan shop will move up into the main lobby, and will occupy a space that’s about 4,200 square feet, which is approximately 1,000 square feet larger than its previous spot.

Construction is set to begin May 1. The project will wrap up by early October, before the team’s first pre-season game, Hornets President Fred Whitfield said.

The project is intended to increase the visibility and prominence of the fan shop, improve traffic flow in the store and alleviate the congestion of fans picking up tickets before they enter the Spectrum Center.

“Almost every fan who comes into our building will walk past our fan shop,” Whitfield explained. “We always thought the most appropriate place would be on the main concourse level so fans would pass by it.”

FanShop_hornets
Rendering of the new fan shop in the Spectrum Center Courtesy of the Charlotte Hornets

The project coincides with the team’s transition to the Jordan brand. Starting next season, the Hornets will be the only team outfitted in Jordan’s signature line, and the fan shop will have an expanded selection of Jordan merchandise as well, the team said.

The shop is being expanded to accommodate nine cash check-out lines (almost double the number of the old shop), as well as more floor space for an expanded Hornets merchandise selection. Fans should be able to check out and leave more quickly, especially on a crowded game night, Whitfield said.

The new box office area will have 10 windows on Trade Street, and the team will keep three windows on the Fifth Street side of the building, Whitfield added. There will also still be two Ticketmaster kiosks on each side of the building.

The store is closed as of Monday to relocate merchandise. During construction, the shop will operate in a temporary location in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Home Court area of the Spectrum Center. It will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Whitfield said that the relocation of the fan shop from the street level is unrelated to the protests last fall following the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. During the unrest, looters stole a Michael Jordan No. 23 Chicago Bulls shirt, Hornets shirt, hats and other merchandise.

In 2014, Charlotte City Council members approved spending $33.5 million over 10 years on improvements to Time Warner Cable Arena, which was renamed the Spectrum Center following Charter Communications’ purchase last year of Time Warner Cable, Charlotte’s dominant cable provider.

After the city agreed to the upgrades, Charlotte won the bid to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. The league moved the game from the state over its opposition to House Bill 2, though now that the controversial measure is off the books, the NBA is expected to make a decision by the end of this month about whether to host its 2019 game in Charlotte. Whitfield said talks with the league about the game are going well.

Another big change to the arena last year was the addition of a massive new $7 million high-resolution scoreboard that’s nearly two-and-a-half times as large as the old standard-definition board.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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