Without questions or discussion, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday moved two steps closer to building the proposed Crown Event Center.
The board accepted a list of guiding principles presented by its project manager, Matt DeSilver of MBP Carolinas. He also asked the board to begin the process of soliciting bids for architectural services.
Commissioner Jeannette Council made a motion to accept the guiding principles as well as moving forward to secure an architect. Commissioner Charles Evans seconded her motion, and it passed on a unanimous vote.
Commissioner Michael Boose did not attend the meeting.
The Crown Event Center will replace the aging theater and arena at the Crown Coliseum Complex on U.S. 301 Business. The two facilities are scheduled to close in 2025.
The guiding principles are based on input from a committee that solicited input from the public, according to DeSilver. The purpose, DeSilver told the commissioners, is to establish a common direction for the project and to inform future project decisions.
The guiding principles include that the new facility will be a catalyst for existing and new businesses to flourish; a premier destination for entertainment; a flexible venue with multiple spaces; and financially self-sustaining.
To find a contractor for architectural and design services, the county will solicit qualifications from professional firms to provide full architectural and engineering services, develop bid documents and oversee construction of the facility. Those services will include securing development approval from appropriate municipalities.
The county is encouraging responses from local companies and from minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned firms and those that have not previously worked for the county.
DeSilver told the commissioners MBP Carolinas will lead a design and construction information session for interested companies on Sept. 8 at the Department of Social Services building on Ramsey Street. The session will start at 10 a.m.
DeSilver said the session will give design firms, subcontractor consultants, and contractors the opportunity to connect and perhaps form partnerships.
Earlier this year, County Manager Amy Cannon told board members that hiring MBP as the “owner’s representative” would speed up the construction process. Several commissioners had lamented that it takes too long to build government projects.
The board also went into closed session to discuss property acquisition. The closed session included representatives of MBP. The site selection process, as outlined by MBP, says the next step is for the board to review recommendations from its Crown Event Center committee and select two possible sites for further analysis.
After further analysis of those two sites, the committee will recommend one of them, and the Board of Commissioners will make a final decision.
MBP told the board that site selection should be complete by early November. The process of buying land for the center is expected to start in mid-November. Construction is scheduled to begin in January, and completion is projected by October 2025.
Jason Brady covers Cumberland County government for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at email@example.com.