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Raleigh City Council Votes 7-1 in Favor of Rezoning Proposal for Downtown South

December 17, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - North Carolina FC News Release

Raleigh, NC - Members of the Raleigh City Council met on Tuesday and today to review and vote on the rezoning proposal submitted by Kane Realty for the Downtown South project. The City Council voted 7-1 in favor of the rezoning on Tuesday night and the vote was confirmed in today's follow-up special meeting.

"This is a significant moment for our city and serves as one more step towards delivering critical infrastructure and community benefits that will shape South Raleigh for generations to come," said North Carolina Football Club Owner and Chairman Steve Malik. "We look forward to bringing this transformative district to life with our partners through consistent dialogue with the community and stakeholders to help shape these essential benefits and deliver with a tax increment grant. These benefits are and will be at the core of this district."

"We are thrilled to see the Raleigh community and our leaders come together in support of this once in a generation project.," said Curt Johnson, President and General Manager of the North Carolina Football Club. "Our world-class players, coaches, and passionate fans deserve a world-class stadium and game day experience. We look forward to the collaborative work ahead and ultimately to the building of a magnificent stadium for all to enjoy."

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin was among those who voted in favor of the plan. Nicole Stewart, Jonathan Melton, Patrick Buffkin, Corey Branch, Stormie D. Forte, and David Knight were the other council members who voted in favor of the plan. David Cox opposed the plan. The approval of the rezoning proposal makes Downtown South a viable project moving forward.

The meeting featured a public hearing in which NC Courage forward Jessica McDonald and NCFC midfielder Nazmi Albadawi stated support for the Downtown South project.

"I truly believe in this project simply because I believe from the bottom of my heart that it creates opportunity, especially for our youth," said McDonald to the Council members. "I truly believe that growing up having the opportunity and the mentorship that I've been able to receive has been able to transition into my success today as a female professional athlete."

Albadawi who was born and raised in Raleigh told his story of growing up in low-income housing to the City Council members and stressed the importance of bringing a stadium to the area. "Having this stadium in the backyard of the low-income housing really provides them with something tangible that they can see every single day," Albadawi said. "They can set those goals to try to reach that stadium as I did with the Carolina RailHawks and now North Carolina FC."

NCFC Youth player Laurel Ansbrow and NCFC Youth academy contract player Trace Alphin also spoke, representing the youth players advocating for the development.

"In my opinion, the proposed stadium would continue the excitement of the growing sport," said Ansbrow. "The stadium would ensure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy watching such talented players and learn from some of the best."

"Our fans, our businesses, and our broader community will support and benefit from this investment," said Alphin who is committed to play collegiate soccer at Wake Forest in the fall. "I plan to play soccer professionally after I finish at Wake Forest. I would love to return to Raleigh, live in Downtown South and be a part of an exciting future MLS team that calls downtown Raleigh home. I know many other players and fans with the same dream."

Members of the Oak City Supporters came together to speak up about the project, as well. The group launched a website and encouraged fans to email their local representatives about Downtown South. Members coordinated a sign-up process for fans to speak at the City Council Meeting.

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