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Developers Unveil Proposals For Vacant Eastland Mall Site

crowd_2.jpeg
Gwendolyn Glenn
A large crowd turned out to hear developers' proposals for the vacant Eastland Mall site

Four proposals for the vacant Eastland Mall site were presented to the City Council Economic Development Committee members today. All of the proposals were mixed-use projects with themes ranging from the arts and sports, to millennial housing and family entertainment.

Eastland Mall closed in 2010. The city bought it two years later and demolished it in 2013. Numerous projects have been proposed for the site but to the disappointment of the community, none have come to fruition.

WFAE's "All Things Considered" host Mark Rumsey talked to Gwendolyn Glenn about the latest round of proposals for the site:

Rumsey:  Gwen, I understand there was a large turnout today to hear proposals for that 69-acre site. What are the developers plans?

Glenn:  Mark, you have the Charlotte-based team, Crosland Southeast, that wants to build a complex with retail and commercial space. The majority of the complex would be lower-priced, for-sale housing, targeting millennials. They said they want a very walkable, diverse development that even has space for food trucks.

The Eastland Community Development Group also wants to target millennials, but their plans have less housing and a larger marketplace for shopping, dining and entertainment. They also want a sports complex for things like indoor soccer.

Rumsey:  What did the other two developers want to do at the site?

Glenn:  Legacy Family Group, an African-American development team, also wants to build a space for retail and restaurants. Their proposed complex would have fewer homes, but those homes would be more workforce housing—about 35 percent. Their plan called for a large center for arts and cultural activities, a skating rink, a movie theater, a fitness center and a training facility.

The fourth presentation, by the Greater Charlotte Multiplex 4 Families, was the only one that would not develop the entire site. Instead, it would only develop 10 to 15 acres for family-oriented elements—an entertainment complex, a child development center, film studios, a movie theater and an amphitheater.

Rumsey: How did the council members respond to the proposals?

Glenn:  Councilman Matt Newton who represents the area said, "I’m just glad the proposals are now public. It’s an opportunity, a starting point with more specifics for the community to move forward. My greatest fear was that the community would not have the opportunity for additional input before we, as council members, had to make a final decision."

Other council members said they need more specifics on things like developers’ financing, what they will ask of the city to make the project happen and more input from residents.

Rumsey: Any timetables on when any decisions for the Eastland site will be made?

Glenn: No, they just tentatively set April 26 as the next meeting date on the project. One resident told me that they have been waiting a long time for something to be built on the site and have seen this process  go nowhere too many times to get excited about what was said today.