The Charlotte Hornets threw a “wall breaking” party on the plaza outside Spectrum Center on Monday to kick off of a two-year renovation of the 19-year-old NBA arena.

The project has been five years in the making for the NBA team, as well as CAA ICON senior vice president Shaun Mason, whose firm serves as the owner’s representative for the $245 million redevelopment.

Joe Dyer, an associate principal with Perkins & Will, the project architect, has been involved since 2020. That’s almost as long as Mason and his crew from ICON, which has grown its presence in Charlotte to about 20 people, a half-dozen of which are working on Spectrum Center. On his own, Dyer helped work on the initial concept design before the project was officially awarded to Perkins & Will.

As construction commences inside the arena, there’s a plan to create a stronger connection between the building and the Hornets’ new practice facility proposed for a gravel parking lot behind the arena, which in turn, could potentially spur more development, including the Spectrum Center storefronts, according to Mason and Dyer.

Mason said it’s ultimately up to the city to drive further business adjacent to Spectrum Center, but he feels the practice facility and clinic will help spur new retail in those empty storefronts. At least that’s what the Hornets hope will materialize, he said.

“We’re moving full steam ahead and looking forward to having the (arena and practice facility) play off each other,” Mason said.

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