Future of Eastland Mall Site All But Certain

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.–The sun might have been shining outside the old Eastland Mall site on Thursday, but the future isn’t so bright. The City Council’s Economic Development Committee decided against a five-month extension to negotiations with Studio Charlotte Development.
“We think there’s opportunity out there for smaller site developments, and we’re anxious to begin those conversations,” said City of Charlotte Economic Development Manager Brad Richardson.
 
Now, the plan for sound stages, shopping, a hotel, and an educational complex isn’t happening on the 80 acre site. “At some point you just have to cut your losses and say we tried. It just didn’t work out,” said Studio Charlotte Development’s Bert Hesse.
 
City leaders plan to search for other ideas for the property, including breaking it up into smaller parcels. “Right now, we’re moving on, and we’re gonna try to make some good things happen there,” said Charlotte City Councilman Michael Barnes.
 
Now, all that’s left of the Eastland Mall is a pile of rubble after the city spent $14 million for the property and demolition along Central Avenue. “I’m disappointed. I think we need something in East Charlotte to help build our community and strengthen it for some positive growth,” said East Charlotte resident Lisa Duffy.
 
A move some residents say is a sign they aren’t a priority. “It’s really disappointed me, and we’re back to square one, and the movie industry is probably going to go to somewhere else,” said East Charlotte Resident Leonard Martina.
 
Studio Charlotte Development’s Holding Company has identified locations in other states, including South Carolina. They hope to break ground this summer.