North Carolina

Debt forgiveness plan for NASCAR Hall of Fame approved

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Last night, the Charlotte (N.C.) City Council approved an agreement between Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and NASCAR that will see those parties forgive more than $22 million in debt from the city’s NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The proposed agreement went through on a 10-1 vote, with Councilman Kenny Smith providing the sole ‘nay’ according to the Charlotte Observer.

Charlotte will now make a one-time payment of $5 million to the two banks, said banks will write off the remainder of a $19 million loan, and NASCAR will waive Hall royalties of $3.2 million that it had been owed since the complex’s 2010 opening.

The banks will also each receive five years of Hall sponsorship, valued annually at $250,000, from the Hall’s operators, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

Additionally, NASCAR’s future royalty payments have been reduced from 10 percent of Hall revenues to 3 percent of revenues in excess of $10 million.

NASCAR’s chief communications officer, Brett Jewkes, tweeted the following after the council’s approval:

The Hall has lost more than $1 million annually and suffered from lower than projected attendance. Only 170,000 people visitors entered the Hall in 2014, a far cry from initial expectations of 400,000 visitors per year.

Sponsorships of the Hall, along with the sales of commemorative bricks, were expected to help pay off the loans from the banks but those initiatives have fallen short so far.

Under the new deal, the yearly financial loss for the Hall is expected to be reduced but not wiped out completely.