FUSE is more than a sports and entertainment complex. It is the heart of a growing commercial district that features the best of urban living: residential choices, sports and entertainment options, offices, restaurants, retail shops, services, green spaces and more. The FUSE sports and entertainment complex will be home to a variety of venues and events. It can accommodate an array of sports – baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, even ice-skating – as well as concerts, fairs, parties, conventions, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is FUSE?
Gastonia’s Franklin Urban Sports & Entertainment (FUSE) is an economic development and revitalization project designed to attract new commercial and residential development to the heart of the city. The hub of the project is a $21.5 million, 5,000+ capacity, multi-use sports and entertainment facility that will host year-round events and activities.
The facility is adjoined and surrounded by private development parcels that will be home to restaurants, offices, apartments, condos, and entertainment venues. Plans are already underway for the first private development associated with the project, the redevelopment of Trenton Mill, across the street from the facility site, into a residential and mixed-use community. The sports and entertainment facility along with the businesses, apartments, and condos adjoining and surrounding it is called the FUSE District.
The facility and the surrounding private development will generate investment that will create jobs, increase the tax base, and fuel economic growth that will benefit the entire city.
How many acres does the City own for the facility?
The City owns 16 contiguous acres bounded by Franklin Boulevard, Hill Street, N.C. Highway7 and Clay Street.
When is it scheduled to open to the public?
Currently, the facility is scheduled to open in late spring 2021.
How much will this facility cost and how will the City pay for it?
Project planners have developed an economically feasible financing plan for the $21.5M facility that proposes utilizing a combination of funding sources that include limited obligation bonds, hotel occupancy tax, partnership funding, private sector funding, naming rights and sponsorships, and grants.
Will Trenton Mill and the former Coca-Cola /Choice building be saved?
The City has a history of preserving and re-purposing historic buildings and the project team is looking at options for both buildings. The private developers who are redeveloping the Trenton Mill plan to preserve the building and convert it into a residential, mixed-use property. While plans for the former Coca-Cola building are still in the early stages, efforts will also be made to incorporate the historic structure into the final plans, cost and purpose permitting.
When will the private development start?
Private development has already started. A developer was selected for the redevelopment of the former Trenton Mill, across from the FUSE site, through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Other private development will follow as additional opportunities are identified through the same process. The next RFP will occur in spring 2019 for proposals on the Coca-Cola/Choice building and new construction on other parcels surrounding the facility.
Will Trenton Street remain open?
The railroad crossing at Trenton Street is a significant crossing for the community and therefore the plan is for it to remain open. The City is working with Norfolk Southern Railroad to install an improved crossing. However, streets near the FUSE project may be temporarily closed during various stages of construction.
I’m not into sports, so why should I care whether it’s built or not?
FUSE is much more than a sports facility. It is an economic development and revitalization project designed to attract new commercial and residential development to the heart of the city. The facility and the surrounding private development will generate investment that will create jobs, increase the tax base and fuel economic growth that will benefit the entire city. The facility will also meet a need expressed by many citizens for a stadium that is flexible enough to host multiple sports and accommodate large events like tournament and playoff games, an asset that the City does not currently have.
What about the YMCA property? Will it be part of FUSE?
The City does not own or have site control over the YMCA property but we will continue to partner with the YMCA, which still owns the property, to promote the site for private redevelopment.
How will the City address parking at FUSE?
One of the main goals of FUSE is connectivity to Loray Village, Downtown Gastonia, and surrounding neighborhoods. Part of promoting connectivity in the FUSE District is to create a pedestrian-friendly corridor that encourages use of public transit and surrounding parking. Plans are to use existing public and private parking facilities rather than investing substantial project dollars to create new parking. There are close to 2,000 public parking spaces within a 10-minute walk of the FUSE site. There are another 3,500+ privately controlled spaces, some of which property owners may make available for complimentary or paid parking during events.