What's Going To Happen To The Eastland Mall?

The Charlotte Chamber held a luncheon for some of its members in East Charlotte on Tuesday to give them an update on its plans for the now-vacant Eastland Mall on Central Avenue. Here are some highlights, and some perspective on what's going on at the site.

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  1. Here's the mall in its heyday:
  2. EASTLAND MALL DEC 1979 CHARLOTTE NC
  3. But now it's turned into what Charlotte City Councilman John Autry calls "a blight that needs to be dealt with":
  4. Peter Zeiler, Investment and Development Manager with the City of Charlotte's Economic Development Division, spoke first.
  5. Zeiler told me that Eastland Mall will never be a mall again. Whatever comes next will require the mall's demolition. Who pays for that demolition is still up in the air. But we've already talked to studio heads who say the mall would have to come down before a studio goes up:
  6. The land where the mall sits had seven owners. The largest was Boxer Properties of Houston, which bought a slice for $2 million in 2010 and sold it to the city for $6 million. More perspective here: 
  7. So how much, exactly, will the city be charging for chunks of the property? That's not clear yet. But it may not be cheap, since Zeiler said the city wants to help property value recover:
  8. Zeiler went on to say that the city will spend the next 45 days studying whether a studio makes sense at Eastland. Part of the research includes a look at whether North Carolina will keep its competitive film incentives, which Evan Hesse of Central Avenue Pictures says are quite good and are responsible for luring projects like Ironman 3 and The Hunger Games into the state:
  9. Also, there's this:
  10. It's true. Just ask the folks in Allen Park, Michigan:
  11. According to Zeiler's remarks, a studio would take up roughly 10-15 of the 80 acres, and the rest would be mixed-use development, like condos, stores and offices:
  12. But according to Hesse, a studio would have a bigger footprint, more like 50 acres. He showed this picture of what a potential studio at Eastland could look like:
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