Epicentre Faces Uncertain Future As Auction Postponed Until July

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Only 18 businesses remain inside the Epicentre. One of those business owners told WCCB that he refused to leave and hopes to one day see the complex return to its heyday.

It’s hard to believe but it was just 14 years ago that the vibe in Uptown Charlotte was electric and the Epicentre was the mecca of Charlotte entertainment.

People enjoyed restaurants, nightclubs, and even a bowling alley.

“I was absolutely blessed and honored to be a part of the Epicentre,” Epic Times Jewelry and Watches owner James Mack said. “We started out in a Kiosk right in the middle of the courtyard.”

James Mack opened Epic Times Jewelry and Watches in the Epicentre in 2015 and he says back then business was booming.

“The first day I opened my Kiosk I made $1,200 on the first day and it was on to the races from there,” Mack said. “It was electric people, moving and grooving and people everywhere you know my perspective the Epicentre was always one of those places you can just go and have a great time for free you didn’t need any money just go down there and just hang out we stay open til 10 or clock out at midnight it was safe.”

But in the years that followed, business owners in Uptown began to see a dramatic change. One of the most notable ones – violence.

Several shootings in Uptown over the years led to many businesses packing up and moving out. Last year, the Epicentre defaulted on its multi-million dollar loan which led to even more businesses leaving the once vibrant complex.

But Mack’s jewelry store still remains.

“Business is kind of almost at a stand still this last month we seen a tiny spike in business maybe like one third of the business we did on a regular basis years ago,” Mack says.

Mack now sees customers by appointment only and he has since opened a new location in Miami.

The Epicentre is up for auction with an uncertain future. Mack says he knows exactly what he’d like to see here.

“I would like to see a shopping mall and be a part of it definitely don’t just want to see it but be a part of it cause that’s what’s needed in Uptown Charlotte,” Mack says.

The auction has been postponed until July 26.