City council approves tentative deal for Eastland Mall development

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The city of Charlotte is taking a small step forward on development at Eastland Mall.

City Council approved a proposal Monday night to enter into a possible development agreement with Studio Charlotte. The two sides have six months to work out a formal development deal.

Studio Charlotte wants to turn the Eastland Mall property into a world-class studio. The grand plan also includes some mixed use development.

"It could be huge," says Studio Charlotte's Burt Hesse. "Georgia does 3 billion dollars in film and entertainment we do one-tenth of that in North Carolina. So we are just hitting the tip of the iceberg."

Studio Charlotte has been waiting for this council vote. At a meeting two weeks ago, Hesse shared his frustration over the lengthy process.

"I feel like we've been dating for over a year. I spent a million dollars dating the city of Charlotte," said Hesse.

A second developer pulled its plans for the former mall out of the running earlier in August. ARK Ventures Incorporated had submitted a plan to build a sports complex at the abandoned mall.

A formal deal with Studio Charlotte could come at the beginning of next year. City leaders say in the end they want to agree on a plan that is sustainable for the long haul.