Old Eastland Mall site being redeveloped as ‘Eastland Yards’
The 80 acres of property will feature everything from single to multi-family homes and affordable housing, signature recreational areas and more.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte city leaders, developers and the east side community officially broke ground Wednesday morning on the site of the old Eastland Mall.
It comes after years of back and forth and just a few weeks after Tepper Sports pulled out of plans to build Charlotte FC headquarters and a soccer academy.
The 80 acres of property will now be known as Eastland Yards, featuring everything from single to multi-family homes and affordable housing, signature recreational areas and more.
Initially, crews will be working on regrading and removing asphalt. They’ll also be working on the underground infrastructure and upgraded utilities.
That work is expected to take the next 18 months or so, depending on supply chain issues developers say they have been plagued with as well. Crews will also be doing intersection improvements.
After that, buildings are expected to be erected starting in the second quarter of 2023. Parks will also be installed during the second quarter of next year.
Early phases of the grand opening are expected to happen around 2024.
According to the city, development will occur in three phases.
Phase one will include 155 homes including townhomes and single family homes, 70 to 120 affordable units for seniors and 280 multifamily units.
It will also include 17,500 square feet of commercial space and green space.
Future phases will include an additional 145,000 square feet of office and retail space.
Developer Tim Sittema, with Crosland Southeast, told WBTV he is in talks with grocers, restaurants and other possible tenants. He says a medical clinic by Atrium Health was on the table when Tepper Sports was involved, but he hopes to still make a medical clinic happen.
“Certainly enthusiasm and excitement are there but relief is certainly part of it,” Sittema said. “We’ve been working hard for four years, we’ve had a lot of steps, missteps. COVID didn’t help anything and there were plenty of times along the way where we questioned whether we’d be successful getting to this point. But we’re happy to be here today, and it was really heartwarming to see so many members of the community.”
Sittema also says there are also some things to iron out financially.
“The county’s contribution we’re still trying to figure out, because their tax increment grant approval was predicated on some specific things related to the Tepper proposal,” he said.
Sittema also says they are awaiting approval for state tax credits to advance the affordable housing for seniors.
Bobbi Almond, the 74-year-old president of the nearby Wilora Lake Neighborhood Association who’s lived in that community for decades, said she didn’t think she’d live to see this groundbreaking finally happen.
Almond is currently in South Carolina but planned to travel back to the area just to see the moment happen.
“We need something that’s going to be a driver for jobs and we also need something that’s going to bring people in from other counties,” Almond said. “You know, that’s what we had there, but we need something that other people will come to our side of town and spend money.”
The former Eastland Mall site - owned by the city of Charlotte - has been under development since it closed a little over a decade ago. At one point, a movie production studio was planned for the site, but that fell through.
Once plans started to come together for this new development, a local flea market attracting about 200 vendors was forced to shut down after the city terminated its contract.
A popular skatepark was also displaced.
Developers said they know some wanted to see a soccer field out in the location, but stressed they heard the wishes of residents.
“We have at least three very viable options that are sports, recreation-related, for that portion of the site,” Sittema said. “Too early to give more details on that. Hopefully, we can make announcements soon enough on one or another of those, but the demand is there. We’re excited about it and we have more work to do.”
The full buildout is expected to take five years, possibly longer. Developers, however, say people will start seeing that progress.
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