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Board Approves Crown Event Center Concept Design

May 17, 2023

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a concept design for the new Crown Event Center during their May 15, 2023 regular meeting.

The approved building layout concept includes a two-story lobby and a rooftop terrace that faces Gillespie Street, which will serve as the front of the facility. The three-story concept also includes a main event hall that can hold 3,000 attendees, additional meeting and event space on the first floor, and VIP spaces on the second floor designed to enhance the facility’s ability to generate revenue. The approved concept was recommended by the County’s Project Delivery Team to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Crown Event Center Committee, which made the recommendation to the full Board.

Brian Haney, Assistant County Manager for General Government & Stewardship, during a presentation to the Board on Monday, announced that the conceptual design incorporates the 0.31-acre property located at 115 East Russell Street, which is adjacent to the County-owned site that was selected for the Crown Event Center, and which currently includes the Yarborough, Winters & Neville law firm. Haney said the County acquired the property to allow for enhanced efficiencies related to the design and operation of the new Crown Event Center.

Earlier in the meeting, Commissioners approved a recommended building program and revised project budget as part of the Consent Agenda. The approved building program of 131,500 square feet is larger than the original 89,000 program that was developed as part of the 2021 CSL Market & Financial Feasibility Study. The approved program includes elements that were not included in that study such as the larger performance space, additional VIP spaces, and additional meeting and event space that can be rented out and will allow multiple events to take place simultaneously and provide more revenue-generating opportunities.

The program was developed following an intensive engagement process with project stakeholders including community members, users of the existing Crown Complex and County Commissioners to learn what priorities stakeholders have for the new facility and what elements they want to see incorporated into its design.

Along with the approved program, the Board approved a Capital Project Budget Ordinance Amendment that incorporates a total project budget of $131,703,300 and a budgeted transfer of $2,500,000 from the food and beverage fund to cover costs incurred prior to the debt issuance. The updated project cost is based partly on the additional programmatic elements, but also on escalation since the original cost estimate was developed, due in part to unprecedented inflation experienced over the past several years. When escalation is taken into account, the cost per square foot between the original and approved budgets is similar.

The Crown Event Center will be constructed on County-owned property in front of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse in Downtown Fayetteville. The facility will replace the existing Crown Theatre and Arena, which must close by Oct. 31, 2025.

For more information on the Crown Event Center project, go to https://www.cumberlandcountync.gov/departments/commissioners-group/commissioners/crown-event-center-committee.