City council hears two proposals for Eastland Mall site

City council hears two proposals for Eastland Mall site

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by AMY COWMAN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @amywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on July 18, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 18 at 6:20 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's been almost a year since the City of Charlotte bought 80 acres of land where former Eastland Mall sits; now they're one step closer to finding the right fit for the site.

"Number one: how do the citizens of District 5 feel about both these proposals? Number two: what is the financial ask of the City of Charlotte," City Councilman James Mitchell questioned.

First up to present their proposal is the Ark Group, known for creating the NC Music Factory, they're proposing a mixed use destination with everything from an artificial ski slope and wave pools, to a film studio and public space for recreation.

"I think the main thing our proposal has is it’s reality that we will deliver it; we are funded, we have a proven track record," said Ark Group President, Rick Lazes.

The second bidder is Studio Charlotte; they showed the council a 3D walk-through video including 40 acres of sound stages, a film school, hotel, and restaurants. They say it would make Charlotte a destination for TV and movies.

"One thing Charlotte does not have is that anchor. It does not have that studio complex that will create full time opportunities for people to work and live in Charlotte," said Studio Charlotte CEO, Bert Hesse.

In the past several years, several films and TV shows have come to the Charlotte area thanks to incentive money. Now, one hurdle both companies and the city agree needs to be addressed is North Carolina's 25-percent rebate incentives for the film industry that are set to expire in 18 months.

"We know from our West Coast office that two major motion pictures have discounted North Carolina already because of instability in film rebate," said Hesse.

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