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Life on Campus at NC State: June 2020

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Montreal Canadiens v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

I last put one of these campus updates together back in March 2020 and since then not a whole lot has happened NC State-wise, or really even non-NC State-wise. I’m really bored guys.

Anyway, I haven’t seen much in the way of updates for projects going on around the NCSU campus area and how these projects have been delayed by COVID-19 related impacts, but you’ve gotta figure a lot of things will be pushed off their estimated completion dates by at least a few months.

Carolina Hurricanes Extend PNC Arena Lease:

This item is basically “NC State adjacent” as it relates to PNC Arena, but not specifically NCSU.

As a quick refresher course, the Carolina Hurricanes’ parent company is Gale Force Sports and Entertainment. Since opening in 1999, the ESA/RBC/PNC has been operated by the Carolina Hurricanes/Gale Force Sports and Entertainment, but has been owned by the Centennial Authority. NC State Mens Basketball is obviously the other major tenant that utilizes PNC on a regularly scheduled basis. With Gale Force in charge of managing/operating the Arena, they are also the entity responsible for booking conventions, concerts, etc. to be held at PNC.

On May 28, 2020 Gale Force agreed to terms with the Centennial Authority on a lease extension for the Hurricanes that will keep the Canes in PNC through at least the 2028-2029 season. I’ve outlined some of the items below from the WRAL Sports Fan story by Joe Giglio:

  • The Canes get a $1.78 million rent break for the 2020 fiscal year.
  • PNC Arena rent payments are eliminated for the Canes for the fiscal years 2021 through 2029. I did an imaginary spit take when I read this detail as the Canes had previously been on the hook for an annual base rent of $2.45 million. Someone do a quick vitals check on Peter Karmanos.
  • New-ish majority owner Tom Dundon is prohibited from moving the team before June 30, 2024 and would owe a relocation penalty to the Centennial Authority of $31 million if the team were to leave prior to July 1, 2024. There are also relocation penalties for subsequent years if the team were to be moved before the completion of the lease extension.
  • The Hurricanes’ team payroll is required to be at least “at the mid-point of the NHL salary cap”. Failure for the Canes to comply with this would result in Gale Force owing $2 million to the Centennial Authority for the related season.
  • The Hurricanes/Gale Force must contribute $1 million to youth hockey and/or charities in North Carolina.

Also, as referenced in the article by Joe Giglio:

These PNC renovation projects were mentioned in a post of mine from September 2019 when this deal with Wake County was announced. The renovation plans included a rooftop bar & restaurant that will overlook Carter-Finley, lounges beneath the main concourse level, the removal of stairwells & suites to add more “income producing spaces”, and the removal of certain aisles to add additional seating. However, the current economic climate will likely make these improvements & renovations a bit more difficult in upcoming years.

Dundon has long mentioned that he would really like to see future economic development in the area surrounding PNC - something that hasn’t happened at all in the 20+ years since the Arena opened (unless you’ve got a major Backyard Bistro fetish). Will be interesting to see if this type of development finally happens with insistence & pressure from Dundon.

Don Waddell (President & GM of the Hurricanes) also specifically noted that the team’s relationship with NC State, Boo Corrigan, and Randy Woodson is “great” so I guess that’s some positive NC State news out of this whole deal. Roll on 2021 Stadium Series outdoor game at Carter-Finley.

My personal take on the entire situation is that I really do love PNC for both Canes games and State basketball games. It’s a gorgeous arena that has aged very well IMO. If State basketball could be consistently not frustrating (that’s not too much to ask, right???), then I think a lot of people would change their tune regarding State basketball games at PNC. The Arena can be absolutely deafening, but State’s MBB Program hasn’t really cooperated by giving fans too much to cheer about since 1999 (unless of course that is if you’re an opposing fan - specifically of the Academic Fraud variety).

In a perfect world, the Canes would have an arena in DTR, DTR would actually have the infrastructure to support such an arena, and State would have a 16,000 person stadium over on Centennial Campus somewhere akin to what UVA built with JPJ Arena. But that ship sailed back in 1999 - and likely hasn’t ever even been a realistic alternative to consider for a variety of reasons. What really needs to happen is for more area around Carter-Finley & PNC to be developed into bars & restaurants from a fan experience perspective. This of course would likely mean the sacrifice of even more tailgate area (RIP TX Lot, I’ll never stop loving & missing you beautiful), but unfortunately I think that’s where we’re ultimately headed.

*SB Nation’s Canes Country actually put together a very comprehensive article detailing out the ins & outs of the Centennial Authority/Gale Force/Hurricanes/NCSU relationship and lease specifics here.*

Belltower Renovations:

I’ve mentioned in a few of these campus update write-ups that the NC State Memorial Belltower is currently undergoing extensive renovations that will improve the area surrounding the Belltower, and also involve the installation of bells into the tower for the first time in the history of ever. The article linked above from NC State notes that construction on the Belltower has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic at a “slow-but-steady pace”. The work is still planned to be completed by the end of 2020, with a rededication event planned for spring 2021.

Belltower Time Capsule:

The NCSU Class of 2020 put together a time capsule that will be placed within the Belltower that is be planned to be re-opened in 50 years. Here’s to hoping it only includes a million copies of this perfect piece of journalism.

Another interesting part of the article linked above is that during the Belltower renovation efforts, there has been a few mentions found regarding a student time capsule that was buried somewhere at the Belltower site the night before the original dedication event back in 1921. Workers involved with the renovation efforts have been made aware of the potential time capsule buried somewhere near the base of the tower, but its burial location has yet to have been located.

Hillsborough Street Fine Dining:

Liquid State has been on Hillsborough Street for a long while now (it replaced Loco Pops sometime back in the early 2010’s IIRC), but it recently announced that it has closed & will not renew its lease. In its place will soon be a 2nd Nourish Raleigh location named “Blend Raleigh”.

The Triangle Food Blog post linked above also notes that the Hillsborough Street Jimmy Johns location has also closed permanently. No news yet on what might eventually replace one of the fifteen different sandwich spots on Hillsborough.

NC State Compost Facility:

NC State recently opened a “Compost Facility and Research Cooperative” located off of Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh. This new facility collects garbage from across NC State’s campus in order to compost the waste instead of diverting a large a percentage of such waste to landfills in the area and/or paying other composting efforts in Raleigh to come pick up the campus waste. The project has been awarded various sustainability fund grants to launch and further improve & expand the existing Facility.

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That’s all the campus news I’ve been able to track down on the Interwebz over the last few months. Hope everyone is staying safe & healthy. Fingers crossed that we’ll all be able to meet up at Carter-Finley in September for a few Old Tuffy’s and some sure to be frustration inducing football.