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Charlotte City Council approves $975,000 for new coliseum seats

People enter the Bojangles Coliseum on April 14, 2013. The Charlotte City Council Monday approved spending $975,000 to install 8,700 new seats at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
People enter the Bojangles Coliseum on April 14, 2013. The Charlotte City Council Monday approved spending $975,000 to install 8,700 new seats at Bojangles’ Coliseum. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

The Charlotte City Council on Monday approved spending $975,000 to install 8,700 new seats at Bojangles’ Coliseum, part of a $16 million renovation plan over the next two years.

The city agreed last year to spruce up the 1950s-era building as part of a plan to bring an amateur sports complex to the site.

The proposed amateur sports complex is on hold after a Florida developer said it needed a one-year extension to secure financing.

But the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority has reached a deal with the Charlotte Checkers hockey team to move their games to the Coliseum from Time Warner Cable Arena in October, and the CIAA basketball tournament will move early round games to Bojangles’ Coliseum in 2017. (Late-round games will stay uptown.)

The new seats will be bigger.

The old seats were between 17- and 18-inches wide, while the new seats will be two inches wider. There will be 14 seats per row instead of 15.

The contract with American Seating Company calls for the firm to remove 9,700 old seats.

The renovations also will include a new scoreboard, locker room improvements and improved ice-making equipment.

At-large council member Claire Fallon said a vote for the new seats wouldn’t affect the city’s general fund budget, which pays for police, fire, garbage pickup and other services.

The city faces a $22 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. The new seats will be paid for by hospitality taxes, including a hotel/motel occupancy tax, which can’t be used for most city services.

“This is not general funds,” Fallon said. “This is hospitality and tourism money.”

Kenny Smith was the only council member to vote no.

In other action, council members:

▪ Approved spending $560,000 to hire Perkins+Will North Carolina to design an expansion of Concourse A at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The expansion would be built on land that today houses rental cars. The airport will move the rental cars later this month to the new hourly parking decks that opened in November.

The airport had planned to build a new international concourse on the site, but interim aviation director Brent Cagle has said American Airlines told the airport that domestic gates would be needed more. American has cut some international flying from Charlotte, including two routes to Brazil and some European service.

The first phase of the Concourse A expansion would have eight to 12 gates. Perkins+Will North Carolina was chosen over seven other firms.

▪ Approved spending roughly $511,000 to replace 750 old, metal-halide lamps with energy-efficient LED lights at the airport’s parking decks.

The city said the new lights will lower energy costs by 66 percent compared with the old lights.

Council members also approved spending $131,000 to renovate a 3,500-square-foot area for American Airlines crews at Concourse E. BL Harbart was selected for the job over four other bidders.

Harrison: 704-358-5160

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