CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Plans for the old Eastland Mall site are ramping up after years of sitting vacant.
City officials broke ground Wednesday, transforming the site into a vibrant destination that encourages big economic growth for the Queen City.
”This day has been a long time in the making and I am so excited that we are finally here, celebrating the beginning of this new phase for East Charlotte,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said. “This project will bring new and needed amenities for this community, job opportunities for residents and build upon the already strong sense of civic pride that has been nurtured by the East Charlotte community.”
The City of Charlotte and the site’s master developer, Crosland Southeast, will transform 80 acres of vacant land into a mixed-use, vibrant neighborhood center, which will increase housing affordability and provide an economic spark for East Charlotte. This new and much-anticipated redevelopment will spur small business creation and provide high-quality open space for the community. It will be called 'Eastland Yard.'
“The Community has waited a very long time for this day to finally come and we are honored to be a part of it,” Tim Sittema, managing partner of Crosland Southeast, said. “We have much work yet to do, but it feels good to celebrate this significant milestone in the transformation of this important property in East Charlotte.”
On Wednesday's groundbreaking, developers said construction of the project will not be dependent on Carolina Panther's owner David Tepper's company, Tepper Sports and Entertainment, which recently rescinded its offer to build a youth academy and soccer fields.
Charlotte government leaders spoke about fond memories created at the old mall. Back in 1975, it was the largest all in North Carolina. For many years, it was the heartbeat of the east Charlotte community.
The development will occur in three phases. Phase one, which is scheduled through 2024, will include:
- 155 homes including townhomes and single-family units
- 70-120 affordable units for seniors
- 280 multi-family units
- 17,500 square feet of commercial space (office/retail)
- Open space
- Infrastructure improvements for streets, rights-of-way, stormwater, water and sewer.
Future phases will include an additional 145,000 square feet of office and retail space.
“CharlotteEAST is ecstatic to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Eastland project with the City of Charlotte, Crosland Southeast and our East Charlotte family,” Greg Asciutto, chair of CharlotteEAST said. “While we are not at the finish line, this event is a milestone in the history of our organization and community.”
“I’m happy I think the majority of the east side is happy that they see something happening," J. Michael Haithcock, who is also a part of CharlotteEAST, said.
Haithcock is hopeful the redevelopment will bring economic growth the area has long needed.
“It’s important that this gets built and something gets built for everybody and hopefully this will be the catalyst for a lot of other great things to follow,” Haithcock said.
With Tepper Sports' departure from the project, it opens a door for a new partner, who can create something different on 20 acres of land.
“I would really like it to be, people-oriented in the sense that everybody can use," Haithcock said.
The central flea market that was removed from the site months ago also now has a new permanent location, giving dozens of vendors that serve multiple underrepresented and underserved communities a secure line of income.
City Councilman Tariq Bokhari tweeted saying they heard the pleas and took action.
Right now, there are discussions around the Central Flea Market wanting to sell products in the 20-acre space of land available. It's most likely not possible.
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