CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte City Council approved millions of dollars in upgrades to Bojangles Coliseum at Monday night's meeting.
The move seals the deal for the Charlotte Checkers hockey team leaving uptown and returning to Bojangles, where it played for years before moving to Time Warner Cable Arena.
One-hundred-fifty events a year makes Time Warner Cable Arena busy, but not the best financial model for the Charlotte Checkers, compared to its scheduling rival, the Charlotte Hornets.
"Scheduling becomes problematic when we are all trying to get the best dates to sustain a business over the long run. We end up with dates like Mondays and Halloween at noon. Logistically, it's a better situation for us to be an anchor tenant in our own facility," said Charlotte Checkers Chief Operating Officer Tera Black.
The Checkers are willing to sign a 10-year lease at city-owned Bojangles Coliseum if the city pays for upgrades.
The $16 million would pay for a new scoreboard, bowl seating for 9,000 fans, food and beverage upgrades, plus major electrical and mechanical work.
The Checkers would also chip in $1.1 million.
Bojangles averages 85 events a year, including concerts and graduations.
Adding about 40 hockey games would help revitalize the east side, something neighbors have been fighting for for years.
"We need to have a sports franchise, need to bring our entertainment back to make sure the economic vitality period in the eastern quadrant is brought back like it once was," said Darrell Bonapart, with Charlotte East Community Partners.
Revamping Bojangles isn't the only plan for that area.
Florida-based GoodSports wants to build an amateur sports complex next to Bojangles, which also includes the city chipping in millions.
GoodSports says it is working on its financing and hopes to have everything in place by the end of the year.
The city expects to know more about where that stands in about a week.
In the meantime, city officials say there is no line drawn in the sand for when GoodSports has to put up or the city will consider moving on.