City exploring opportunities after Tepper Sports exits redevelopment plans for Eastland project
The city said it is still talking to Tepper Sports about other things in the city and is open to opportunities.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - People living in East Charlotte are stunned after Tepper Sports said it was dropping plans to build soccer fields and Charlotte FC’s academy at the former Eastland Mall site.
WBTV’s Lowell Rose talked to a city councilmember and neighbors about the changes.
Some people in East Charlotte feel betrayed by Tepper Sports and Entertainment backing out of the Eastland redevelopment project.
This was a promise added to years of broken promises for this area, but there still appears to be a bright future here.
“It was heartbreaking,” Dimple Ajmera, the at-large Charlotte City councilmember, said.
“I was furious, I couldn’t believe it,” Mimi Davis, the president of East Charlotte Coalition of Neighborhoods, said. “The neighborhoods were excited, neighborhoods had worked on the project, we’d funneled information into people who needed it, we’ve done all of these things and now of all a sudden, for reasons we don’t understand, Tepper has decided to pull out.”
Tepper Sports and Entertainment released a statement saying in part: “After a great deal of consideration, the timeline for the Eastland project posed challenges that led us to research expedited alternatives.”
The plans with Tepper Sports would have included a practice facility for Charlotte FC and an academy, something the community wanted in East Charlotte.
“Our development and our plan will continue without the Tepper Sports, so we are going to continue to bring catalyst for that site that we had promised for our residents,” Ajmera said. “Let me assure you all that our commitment to redeveloping that site, bringing jobs and opportunities and building catalyst, has not changed.”
“We wanted the soccer fields, we wanted his involvement, we wanted all of these things, it was important for the neighborhood,” Davis said.
Other development of the Eastland project will continue with groundbreaking happening in August.
The city released a statement saying it “is pursing development opportunities for that portion of the site that focus on recreation, and which align with the community’s vision.”
“We are working with multiple development proposals right now for that site, so whatever we do will be aligned with the promises that have been made,” Ajmera said.
“This isn’t a one person show with Tepper, they can do many, many other things and it’ll probably work out better in the long run,” Davis said.
The city said they’re still talking to Tepper Sports about things in the city, and they’re open to opportunities.
Crosland Southeast, the developer of Eastland says while they’re disappointed, they were not surprised by Tepper Sport’s decision to pull away from the project.
“Crosland Southeast can confirm that Tepper Sports (TSE) will not be a part of our redevelopment plans going forward at the Eastland site. While we are disappointed, we are not surprised with their decision and our plans are not dependent on TSE’s commitment. Although ideally a decision would have been made much sooner, we are now able to finally begin our construction phase with the clarity we have been awaiting.
Expecting this announcement at some point, we began parallel marketing efforts for this portion of the site months ago and we are very encouraged by the level of interest for it. We hope to be able to announce our updated plans very soon. In the meantime, our Groundbreaking is scheduled for August 3, and Crosland Southeast is very excited to be moving into this next phase of progress for this important site.”
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