New stadium: War heroes are remembered in Charlotte
source: StadiumDB.com; author: Tomasz Sobura
The name of the venue has been in use since the 1930s. However, its present shape has only been in existence since last year. This is the new home of Charlotte Independence, a team that plays in the USL League One (the third tier of competition).
American Legion Memorial Stadium with a capacity of 10,500 seats lies in the heart of the Elizabeth neighbourhood in Charlotte. The name of the facility commemorates local soldiers who died during World War I. The arena replaced the stadium opened in 1936, which stood in the same place.
© Bobby Brandon
The need for a thorough reconstruction was discussed as early as 2015, when rumours were spread about a chance to lure the MLS expansion franchise to the city. However, it was only a proposal without any particulars.
Despite several renovations over the years, it was decided that most of the stadium structure should be demolished and then rebuilt. That was a necessity, as the technical condition of the venue did not allow for another ad hoc modernization.
The revamp design included several elements of the old stadium that the city authorities decided to keep. These were Art Deco ticket booths and a 1.5-meter concrete wall at the top of the seating bowl.
© Shaun Donithan (shaundontv - Instagram)
In December 2017, Mecklenburg County approved a major overhaul of the arena worth $31.7 million. Construction began on September 20, 2019 with the groundbreaking ceremony.
After 21 months, on June 23, 2021, the county announced the completion of works, and two weeks later the first game took place. Ultimately, the construction price tag was nearly $10 million higher than the initial cost ($40.5 million).
After demolishing the old stands, it was possible to enlarge the playing field. The stadium retained the U-shape, and its single-tier stands are still unroofed. On hot days, spectators are protected from the sun by trees, which are quite numerous around the venue. From almost every point in the stands, there is a good view of the uptown Charlotte skyline. Behind one of the goals there is a modern video screen (12 m x 18 m).
© Franklin Adams (fthedaddy - Instagram)
Although the auditorium has 9,500 fixed seats, the total capacity is 10,500. Music events can be attended by up to 15,000 people. The facility includes several types of seating, including 1,600 premium mid-point seats with cup holders.
Most of the other seating is aluminium bleachers with no backs. Another tier is bleachers with backs. The stadium also has 104 VIP overlook seats and 60 VIP field-level sideline seats.
The arena covers an area of 9.8 acres. There are decorative elements in and around the stadium in honour of World War I veterans. As a result of the modernization, new catering points and toilets appeared, as well as a new press stand. Football, soccer and lacrosse matches can be played at American Legion Memorial Stadium.