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Eastland Mall Redevelopment / Where's Richard Simmons? Our 2005 Conversation With The Fitness Guru

Mike Collins with Richard Simmons at WFAE's studios in 2005.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What’s next for the old Eastland Mall site? We examine that and listen back to our 2005 interview with fitness guru Richard Simmons, who seems to have vanished from the public eye.

Part One: Eastland Mall Redevelopment

Charlotte's development boom has yet to reach the empty lot that was once Eastland Mall. More than three years after the city demolished the mall in hopes of priming the pump for revitalizing Charlotte's east side, developers have yet to turn the dream into a reality.

Now, Charlotte's City Council wants a new plan to redevelop the site. The economic development committee recommended hiring a team of consultants to devise such a plan to attract developers. That could cost as much as $575,000 and the full city council is expected to vote on a contract on March 27th.

In October, Mike Collins spoke with some of the people involved - and today we hear part of that discussion - about what seems to be the holdup for new development.

This segment originally aired on October 25, 2016.


Pat Mumford - director, Neighborhood and Business Services, City of Charlotte

Astrid Chirinos - chief development executive, Latin American Economic Development Corporation

Mary Newsom - associate director, Urban and Regional Affairs, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

The 'Missing Richard Simmons' podcast has inspired a cult following.

Part Two: Where's Richard Simmons? Mike's 2005 Conversation With The Fitness Guru

Is Richard Simmons missing? The effervescent fitness guru is well-known as much for his enthusiastic and sometimes eccentric personality - as he is for his Sweatin' to the Oldies aerobics videos. But in February 2014, Simmons seems to have disappeared from the public eye.

The mystery has spawned a popular podcast - Missing Richard Simmons. The podcast has found a cult following - it's held the top of the podcast charts since its debut last month.

His mysterious disappearance has inspired fan theories - but the podcast has also received some criticism. What if Richard Simmons doesn’t want to be found? Perhaps he simply wants a more private life.

Mike spoke with Simmons in 2005 and his genuine concern and compassion for the people he was helping came through loud and clear. We hear part of that conversation today.

This interview originally aired in 2005. Hear the full one-hour conversation with Richard Simmons here:

Mike's full 2005 conversation with Richard Simmons.
Mike Collins with Richard Simmons at WFAE's studios in 2005.

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.