Panthers plan renovation of 158 stadium suites

The Carolina Panthers will renovate 158 luxury suites at Bank of America Stadium as part of the team’s five-year plan to refurbish the entire building, team President Danny Morrison said Thursday.

Work will begin on the suites this month and continue for the rest of the offseason with an expected completion date of mid-June, Morrison said.

A major part of the construction will include adding a window-wall system to the suites that eliminates any barricades.

“You take all your glass and the frame and everything, and it slides into the wall on the side,” giving suite members a “completely open suite,” he said.

A planned middle aisle will make reaching seats more convenient for fans sitting on the left and right, he said. Currently, the aisles are positioned on the end of each row.

The overhaul will also see new televisions, carpet and countertops added to each suite, Morrison said. He hopes all the suites will be finished and open in time for an international soccer tournament planned for the stadium this summer.

Charlotte-based Wagner Murray Architects, which handled renovations to the stadium last year, will design the renovated suites. None of the suite renovations are coming at the expense of taxpayers, Morrison said.

“This is a Panthers project,” he said.

Final costs for the project had not been determined by Thursday, he said.

In 2013, the Charlotte City Council voted to give the Panthers $87.5 million toward $125 million in stadium renovations. In return, the team agreed to be “tethered” to Charlotte for at least six years, with penalties if it moves in the four years after that.

Last year, $64 million was spent to add new escalators and video boards to the stadium. Of that $64 million, $28 million came from taxpayers, while the remaining $36 million came from the team. Taxpayers will pay $23.5 million in both 2016 and 2018 for more work on the stadium.

“We’re trying to take this classic American stadium ... and bring in the very best technology,” Morrison said.

On Thursday, the team was preparing to travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks on Saturday in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. Regardless of the outcome, the Panthers won’t play at home again this season.