CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Plans to turn Eastland Mall into a major film studio and film school are on life support and could be dead in a few weeks, according to Studio Charlotte CEO Bert Hesse.

Hesse wanted a five-month extension of exclusive negotiating rights to help put the plan together, but city leaders say they've been asking him for months to come up with specific details about financial plans, construction costs and revenue projections.

The memo of understanding between Hesse and the city expires March 31.

Over the last several months, our staff has been waiting to have these questions answered privately, away from these cameras, and they haven't been answered, said Charlotte City Council Member Michael Barnes, chairman of the city's Economic Development & Global Competitiveness Council Committee.

Hesse says if the deal at Eastland Mall falls through, the project will still be built, but at a different location in Mecklenburg County or in South Carolina.

Hesse also asked the city to pay half the cost of geotechnical, environmental and utility reviews of the mall site to make sure it is suitable for building. That would be an estimated $125,000 cost.

We do own the land, but this is not our project, Barnes said.

I would expect that you would have some seed money and not expect us to use taxpayers' money to do your job, said City Council Member Claire Green Fallon.

Hesse says information from those land reviews is what he needs to determine costs and provide specific answers.

I don't own that property. This is information the city is going to need to hand to any developer, he said.

There's also an issue of trust.

Hesse feels the city burned him before because the movie studio was his idea. He says he brought it to the city's attention and had to spend $200,000 to win the idea back after the city issued requests for proposals and got a handful of ideas, only to decide they liked Hesse's best.

Hesse says he's not much for sharing the names of his investors or tenants and providing the playbook for someone else to come in and redevelop the mall site.

I don't want to provide them with detailed information that has been proven to come back to be used almost against me. So I'm holding that information close to the vest until there was a stronger relationship with the city, but I guess apparently that's not to happen.

Neighbors say if Hesse's plan falls through it will eliminate an estimated 2,000 jobs.

I can't even tell you what a slap in the face it is to the community, said Donna Reed, who is an artist, activist and helping Hesse with his movie studio effort.

The city plans to come up with where do we go from here options in the next couple of weeks.

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