Jul 25, 2022 - Development

Changes are underway at the EpiCentre


Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Changes are afoot at the EpiCentre, previously a buzzing complex Uptown where people would flock to eat, drink, shop and be entertained.

The EpiCentre auction has been delayed, again. It was scheduled for July 26 at 10am, and has been pushed back to Aug. 9 at 10am at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.

  • The highest bidder will receive the property “as is,” according to court documents obtained by Axios.
  • Of note: The auction was originally scheduled for May 12, before being twice postponed.

Why it matters: EpiCentre businesses have struggled to hang on during the pandemic. The property’s ongoing financial woes only add to the uncertainty facing what was once Uptown’s premier entertainment destination.

Go deeper: Can the EpiCentre survive the pandemic?

Context: Back in March, Axios observed George Hatzikostopoulos, owner of local architectural branding company GH Designs, removing signs around the property.

  • Grabbagreen and Rooftop 210 are the latest businesses to lose their signage, joining several others with barren marquees like Wild Wing, Whiskey River and Blackfinn, to name a few. Many of these were among the tenants to be evicted from the EpiCentre back in late 2020.
Grabbagreen signage being taken down. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

The backstory: Los Angeles-based CIM Group bought the EpiCentre for $130.5 million in 2014, as the Observer reported. The investment firm told the paper the pandemic has had an “outsized” economic impact on the property.

  • Multiple times, the landlord failed to make mortgage payments on the complex, calling the property’s future into question. And then last June, the EpiCentre went into receivership after the owner defaulted on an $85 million loan, WBTV reported.
  • On Monday, the property went into foreclosure following an order from a Mecklenburg County Superior Court judge. The judge ordered that attorney William Kirk, a trustee in the foreclosure, send a notice of the sale of the property once his office selected a time and date.

The big picture: In recent years, the property has gotten much quieter. Businesses have shut down and foot traffic has dried up. Epic Times jewelry store owner James Mack tells Axios he’s had to transition to appointment-only because business has been so slow.

  • “I’m hanging on by a thread,” Mack told Axios recently. “I can’t believe there is no help. It’s not only me; it’s a ton of businesses Uptown and we’re all struggling just to hang on.”
Wild wing

What’s next: The new owner will have the authority to change the name of the building and bring in new tenants.

Go deeper: What readers want to see at the EpiCentre after it’s auctioned off

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on March 16, 2022 and was updated on July 25, 2022 to include new information about the Epicentre’s auction. 


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