The agreement developed by the Knights and County staff was amended slightly to include the following milestones:
• Knights deposit $100,000 toward its obligation to pay County legal fees as provided in Section 13.5 of the Agreement into an escrow account by the end of August 2011.
• Knights provide evidence of two founding-level sponsors by March 2012 or deposit another $100,000 into escrow.
• Knights submit stadium project financing plan by June 2012 in accordance with Article VII of the Agreement
• Stadium construction will start by October 1, 2012
• Knights will play home games in the new stadium for all of the 2014 season
• Within two weeks of the first home game in the new stadium, escrow funds are returned to the Knights.
The Knights began its partnership with the County in 2007 just before the recession. A series of lawsuits brought by major league baseball supporter and Charlotte attorney Jerry Reece prevented the Knights project from moving forward. All the lawsuits were dismissed but the recession has kept investors away from the stadium project.
Reese also made a presentation at the meeting, saying Charlotte is ripe for major league baseball. He says he has had discreet conversations with one major league team for many years and they are simply waiting for the City and County to say they support major league baseball over the Knights minor league team. Reese’s plan would include a 38,000-40,000 seat stadium built on one of several recommended sites. His preferred site would be along Stonewall between College and McDowell and would require a complicated land swap similar to the one that makes land available for the Knight’s stadium.
The committee recommendation, adopted on a three-one vote with Commissioner Cooksey voting no, will go to the full Board on June 21. The process will take several votes and will be completed during the August Board meeting.