Aug 29, 2023 - Development

Charlotte leaders propose compromise for the future of the old Eastland mall


Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

On Monday night, Charlotte City Council did not choose a redevelopment proposal for Eastland Yards as expected.

Instead council is asking the two development teams who submitted proposals to work together on a new vision for the 29 acres at the old Eastland Mall site. The focus should remain on indoor sports, esports, food and retail, and soccer fields, District 5 representative Marjorie Molina says.

  • Council was unanimous in its decision to make the request and defer action on Eastland for 45 days.

Why it matters: Since the iconic Eastland Mall and its famous ice rink shut down more than a decade ago, the land has remained largely unused.

  • For the last year, the city has been debating what to do with a nearly 30-acre portion of the site. The community is eager to see the land developed.
  • But the pressure on city leaders to choose the right economic catalyst has slowed down the process.

Catch up quick: The city considered multiple proposals for the property. It would likely contribute roughly $30 million in public dollars to the chosen project. Two finalists emerged:

  • QC East’s plan is for six multi-sports turf fields, an outdoor amphitheater, a community gathering space, a 20,000-square-foot esports hub and a food village to showcase the East Side’s diverse culinary scene. Behind this proposal are Southern Entertainment, a Charlotte-based event company, the Charlotte Soccer Academy and Carolina Esports Hub.
  • The indoor sports complex is a planned 160,000 square feet, with, among other amenities, 12 basketball courts that can be converted for various sports, two ice rinks and a soccer field. The applicant on this proposal is Synergy Sports, a Charlotte-based sports consulting company.

[Go deeper: Eastland update: City considers new athletics complex proposal for former mall site]

What they’re saying: “I feel very sincerely [this] is the best path forward,” Molina said after making the motion to defer action.

The other side: Mayor Pro Tem Braxton Winston was concerned the fast-changing market could hamper any deals with developers. He suggested the city craft a back-up plan, potentially for a Mecklenburg County park.

  • “We cannot have Eastland sitting there bald for another business cycle,” Winston said.

Of note: Construction is underway on the rest of the 80-acre Eastland Mall site. Developer Crosland Southeast is building 155 single-family homes and townhomes, 280 multi-family units, 17,500 square feet of office and retail space, and a 5-acre park. It’s been waiting to find out what the city selects for the eastern portion of the development.


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