What’s next for the Epicentre?

“I hope it continues to be a center of commerce for the city,”
The building will get a new name and new tenants. Many businesses permanently closed after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 8:20 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The future of the Epicentre hangs in the balance of an auction scheduled for next month at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. This is after the entertainment hub went into foreclosure earlier this year.

With an auction date set, some are wondering what will be next for the once entertainment hotspot of the city?

While many have wanted a clean slate, some are hoping the new developers will bring safe and fun new places to eat, play and stay - that cater to Uptown’s growing younger crowd.

The Epicentre sits mostly empty, but people in Uptown are hoping that will change.

“I hope it continues to be a center of commerce for the city,” said Joshua Harris, who lives in Uptown.

Charlotte City Councilman Malcolm Graham said, “certainly the city is keeping an eye on what’s happening, we’ve been casually on the outside looking in, working with the broker who is selling the property.”

The complex is zoned commercial, so the city would like to see the prime property used for mixed-use development in Uptown. That includes restaurants, shops, hotels, and more.

“If I had a magic wand, I would love to have more shopping in Uptown, we want to make sure that Uptown is a destination location,” said Graham.

Those are simply his wishes because the city does not completely control what the new owners of the Epicentre property will decide to do with the site.

Graham said, “we have literally no control other than influence, so obviously our economic development staff has been working with individuals who may be interested in buying the property, we’ve been casually advising them, but we’re certainly on the outside looking in.”

People living here want fun new things to do that fit the lifestyle of Uptown’s newest residents.

“Of course, we could get more breweries in the town, it’s a big pet-friendly city so maybe a pet park could come into this space, a little bit more entertainment because it’s a younger city and also a growing city,” said Harris.

Dave Tewell said, “I’m a big music fan and there’s a lot of music venues on the outskirts of the city but it would be cool to have some live music entertainment inside the facilities.”

It’s not just people wanting more for the nearly vacant site but businesses that remain depend on foot traffic to survive.

“It does make an impact for the Epicentre to be down to 30% occupancy,” said Leigh Wylie, the General Manager of Rooter’s Wood Fired Kitchen in Uptown Charlotte.

The general manager said the future of the Epicentre impacts business at the restaurant.

“It’s right around the corner from our location, it’s also right around the corner from King’s Kitchen our sister restaurant and any business that comes uptown will generate business for us,” said Wylie.

The Epicentre will likely have a new name and owner after the auction next month. Councilman Graham is hopeful the new owners will have an expedited plan to improve and revitalize the complex.

“That whole quadrant of uptown over the next 2-3 years I think is going to change significantly, and certainly the biggest piece of that puzzle is the future of the Epicentre and again we hope that whoever buys it is responsible in their approach, assertive and aggressive, and to put that piece of property, that parcel back on the tax roll sooner than later,” said Graham.

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