After a long wait, the site which used to be home to Eastland Mall is about to begin redevelopment. We reported about this same project in November of 2020 when Charlotte FC first planned to build a practice facility on the site. It was announced that the project will commence, but at this time they will not be starting on the Charlotte FC portion of the project.
There have been many different plans over the years since the mall closed, but this one is finally unanimously approved by City Council and is set to break ground on August 3rd. The end result should be a combination of mixed-income housing, retail, offices, a grocery store, and green space. Hopefully the practice facility for Charlotte FC will be in a later phase of the project as it has been part of the plans for this redevelopment since 2019.
The mall opened in July of 1975 and was unique because it had an ice skating rink inside. After a long decline resulting in the closure of the anchor stores, and grocery store, the city purchased the 69-acre site. The mall was demolished in 2013 and then housed the Eastland Community Transit Center in the parking lot. The site is located in the heart of East Charlotte with Central Avenue, Albemarle Road and North Sharon Amity Roads as the boundaries.
This new development has been a long time coming as there have been a few plans over the years that have not come to fruition. The demographics of the area and rising crime rate were some of the reasons for the closure in the first place, but as prices of homes close to the city have risen, the area around Eastland Mall has become more attractive and the empty site has come back into focus as prime for redevelopment.
The original plan for this project included the City of Charlotte, Crosland Southeast, and Tepper Sports and Entertainment (TSE). The city owns the land and Crosland is the master developer. Tepper Sports and Entertainment was to be in charge of development for about 20 acres of the site for the Charlotte FC practice fields and facilities. There is still a chance that TSE will be in the project at a later date, but as of now, they are not part of the active development.
Tepper Sports and Entertainment has also been in the news recently for the failure of the new practice facilities for the Carolina Panthers in Rock Hill. They are also in talks with the city trying to seek funding for improvements or a rebuild of Bank of America Stadium which could include a public funding component. This leaves that project also in doubt.
This project should bring some much needed revitalization to the area, but residents are still concerned that the project will lead to gentrification. Also, the 20 acres of the site set aside for Tepper and the Charlotte FC team could have other uses if TSE is completely out of the project. It would take approval by city council, but the focus should still be on open recreation areas.
Ground is about to be broken on this project, but there will be around 18 months of site work, infrastructure, and utility work first. The first buildings should start to go up in the first quarter of 2023. This means that the first residents won’t get to move in for around 36 months from now.
To read more about this project, check out the article in Charlotte Axios here.