Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper arrives at SC governor’s mansion
Following Mecklenburg County’s recent revaluation, the Carolina Panthers saw Bank of America Stadium’s tax value surge from $135 million to $572 million. Now the team is saying that the facility is actually worth just over $87.2 million.
Carolina Panthers Chief Financial Officer Kristi Coleman said the team’s estimate is based on the recent purchase of the team, according to a revaluation appeal letter to the county Feb. 19, obtained by the Observer through a public records request. David Tepper bought the Panthers last summer for $2.275 billion, an NFL record.
A market value of $87,283,487 for the stadium would be a whopping $485 million (or 85 percent) less than what the county said its new value was.
As the Observer has reported, the team could argue that Bank of America Stadium is an aging stadium that has depreciated in value over time, despite its recent renovations. Coleman could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Appealing the stadium’s valuation could be an attempt to ultimately lower the Panthers’ tax bill — although tax rates have yet to be set by county commissioners. The team’s property tax bill last year was $1.84 million, according to county tax records.
The Panthers have already gotten some tax relief in recent years.
A bill passed by the N.C. legislature last year exempts the team from paying taxes on public land leased at below-market value. The Panthers lease 34 acres from the city for $1 a year, so that law saves the team more than more than $350,000 a year on property taxes.
Tax Assessor Ken Joyner told the Observer in February that in its recent revaluation, its first since 2011, the county used a number of criteria to determine the new valuation of the stadium, including its age, seating capacity and renovations.
In 2013, the city of Charlotte agreed to provide the Panthers with $87.5 million in public funds to help renovate the stadium and to subsidize some operating costs. Some of the improvements, which took place over the course of five years, included improved Wi-Fi and cell service, new video boards and new escalators.
Bank of America Stadium is one of the oldest facilities in the NFL, however. The facility opened in 1996 as Ericsson Stadium.
The squabble over the value of the stadium comes as South Carolina lawmakers are working to entice Tepper and the Panthers to move its headquarters, which would include its business operations and a practice facility.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMcaster and lawmakers met with Tepper Wednesday and said he expressed interest in moving 150 employees to a site in York or Lancaster counties, involving an estimated payroll of $190 million a year. Leaders in Charlotte and Raleigh say they’re ready to work to keep the team’s entire operations here, however.
“We see the Panthers as a great asset in our city. Of course we want them to be successful and competitive,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles told the Observer.