After years of starts and stalls, Charlotte City Council on Monday unanimously approved plans to redevelop the former Eastland mall site. Eventually it will house a blend of mixed-income housing, retail, offices, a grocery store, and green space.
Why it matters for Charlotte: Ever since the city bought Eastland two years after the mall closed a decade ago, officials have been trying to decide what to do with the 69-acre site. The city sees this latest proposal as a way to support and drive investment in east Charlotte. “Game-changing,” as city councilman Matt Newton called it at the Monday evening meeting.
The site will also house a Major League Soccer academy headquarters — a draw, the city says, for families around the region.
“It’s extraordinary that we have a proposal in front of us that meets so many of the requests of the community,” Newton said. “There is literally something for everyone in this project.”
Uptown district: As part of the approved Eastland proposal, Charlotte FC and Panthers owner Tepper Sports & Entertainment will renovate Bank of America Stadium to accommodate MLS.
Additionally, Tepper Sports will develop a master plan for an entertainment district near the stadium. The master plan will identify “possible locations for event venues, possible stadium locations, light rail alignments, parking facilities, pedestrian improvements, infrastructure investments, transportation solutions, and an Uptown District,” according to the city.
Here are a few other details of the proposal that the city approved:
- The city will commit $35 million in hospitality funds to Tepper Sports for work at Eastland and Uptown.
- Tepper Sports is agreeing to a nine-year tether for Charlotte FC, beginning in 2022.
- The city will reimburse developer Crosland Southeast for infrastructure work at Eastland.
- Tepper Sports commits to a “Community Benefits Agreement” that promises outreach like coaching and equipment donations.
City councilwoman Dimple Ajmera pointed to Eastland’s past as a destination for the region. The mall was a place where people had their first jobs and first dates. The ice-skating rink drew non-shoppers to the shopping center. This new proposal could breathe new energy into the area.
“East Charlotte residents have been asking for a catalyst for a long period of time, and we’ve waited for so long for the right partner,” Ajmera said.