Charlotte Council OKs Millions For Eastland Redevelopment, Bank Of America Stadium Soccer Upgrades
Charlotte City Council on Monday night voted unanimously to approve spending $38.25 million with the developer Crossland Southeast to help redevelop the old Eastland Mall site.
Crosland plans to redevelop much of the 80-acre site off Central Avenue with 250 apartments, a grocery store and retail. The city bought the dying mall in 2012 and demolished it a year later.
Over the years, various ideas for the site were proposed but then failed. At one point, a developer said he would build movie studios at Eastland, while another developer proposed a recreation area with an outdoor ski slope.
City Council member Matt Newton, who represents the area, said the vote is a milestone.
“Much of the community input, a lot of it revolved around commercial and retail space,” Newton said. “And that’s included here as well. It seems like to me, it’s not just a home run but a grand slam.”
The Eastland development will not include the headquarters for the new Charlotte FC Major League Soccer team, which is owned by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper.
Tepper Sports and Entertainment hasn’t said where the headquarters might go, but it could be at the Panthers' new corporate headquarters that’s being built in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
In addition to the Eastland subsidy, council members also unanimously approved giving Tepper $35 million to make Bank of America Stadium more suitable for soccer. In exchange, the team has agreed to play at the stadium for at least nine years.
Black Lives Matter Mural Site Reopened To Traffic
In other action, council members voted 10-1 to reopen a section of South Tryon Street uptown that’s been closed for the Black Lives Matter mural. In early June, the city commissioned several artists to paint the mural, and then decided to make part of the street a pedestrian-only corridor temporarily.
Planning director Taiwo Jaiyoeba said the city never intended to keep the street closed permanently.
“My conversations with some of the artists, frankly speaking, is also that they never expected that this was going to be permanent,” Jaiyoeba said. “They all knew going into at that at some point the street would be repaved.”
A representative from the seafood restaurant McCormick and Schmick’s told council members that closing the street has hurt his restaurant financially.
Council member Braxton Winston said reopening the street would be a sign to residents that it was prioritizing business over Black lives. He proposed keeping the street closed until at least Dec. 31.
But council member Renee Johnson, who is also African American, disagreed when she voted to open the street.
“To say that we are putting small business over Black lives, I would disagree,” she said. “You know, I don’t think it’s a small thing for him to feel that way. But I do know that we have been progressive as a council.”