Affordable housing not a priority in Eastland Mall site development

Affordable housing not a priority in Eastland Mall site development
(Ben Williamson/WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As the Charlotte Economic Development Committee (EDC) continues to focus on developments for the Eastland Mall site, affordable housing will not be a priority.

"I am not opposed to it, but we certainly need to have, upfront, commercial, retail growth," said Councilman Matt Newton, who represents the area where the site sits.

Last month, the EDC was presented with 4 development proposals that focused on multi-use buildings. Affordable housing was a part of a several of the proposals but many East Charlotte residents say they do not want that.

"We have a ton of affordable housing around Eastland already and that needs to be taken into consideration," said Ed Garber, a east Charlotte resident. "The median income in the area is so low that we are not able to support businesses that other parts of the city have."

"By bringing that, we are not going to have any economic growth," said Diana McLemore, an east Charlotte resident.  "To me, it doesn't make sense to put people where you have no shopping."

The EDC says within the next month, they should have the proposals slimmed down to one or two and be able to present their recommendation to the full council.

For a city that continues to work on the affordable housing issue, council members commit this project for that.

"Jobs, opportunities. Something we can leverage for transportation growth," said Council member Newton. "For us, we do not have the same extent of amenities that exist in other parts of the city."

"This is an economic development project, we have to focus on catalyst," said Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera.

The council will meet again at the end of May.

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