CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - For nearly a decade, about 70 acres of land in east Charlotte has wasted away and gone undeveloped. Plans for the old Eastland Mall site have come and gone without any real action and the land remains just one big parking lot.
Charlotte City Council had a packed agenda for Monday's meeting. Among the topics to be discussed was the old Eastland Mall site in east Charlotte.
On Monday four developers presented concrete and detailed plans for the future of the site in hopes of being selected to move forward with the project. However, council members warned that it could be years before a project is complete.
"This is the first time since Studio Charlotte that we have heard specificity in the proposals and that is significant," said councilman Matt Newton
The 80 acres where Eastland Mall once stood has remained empty for almost 10 years. People who live nearby say this is long overdue and are ready to see the site be put back to use.
"Purely residential or purely recreational, entertainment and retail oriented? We have some real decisions that have to be made," Newman added.
City council has wrestled with how to best utilize this land. Some of the past failed ideas included a movie studio and a Hispanic-themed mall.
Three of the projects would develop the entire 69 acres through multi-use buildings, sport complexes, entertainment centers, retail, restaurants and housing. One of the projects would focus on a family entertainment area that would only utilize part of the land.
"Maybe it is even talking about a combination of some of these proposals but we have to have that community input," said Newton.
"We want something that celebrates the history of Eastland but also make it a true destination," said councilmen James Mitchell who also chairs the Economic Development Committee.
East Charlotte residents packed the meeting Monday to get a look at the new proposals.
"I liked one thing from each one but not everything for everybody. There are a lot of people in East Charlotte that want a better way of life. A better way to shop," said Diana McLemore, an east Charlotte resident.
However, McLemore wants to see action soon and not another failed attempt at development.
"It feels like we are going to be here three years from now, doing the same thing," said McLemore.
The hope was to make a recommendation by April 26, but several council members felt they did not have enough information and want a longer period of public input.
"We need to be clear, what is the public contribution to the project and what part will the city play," said Mitchell.
Mitchell is confident that a final decision on how to move forward should come in the next couple of months.
"If we have not made a decision by the June time frame, I would say the residents of the 5th district need to look at the committee members and not vote for us," said Mitchell.
In October, Mitchell admitted the city may have gotten ahead of itself in the past and this time around they will do a better job of vetting each proposal.
"I think we will do a better job vetting each proposal," Mitchell said. "We will make sure that we have a development that is going to sustain that area for 25 to 30 years."
After Monday's presentations, the committee will make their recommendations to the council at the end of April.