CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The two proposals jostling for the former Eastland Mall site have officially joined forces following Charlotte City Council’s unanimous vote Monday night.
The teams representing QC East and Eastland Yards agreed to partner, providing what city leaders are calling the “best of both worlds” for 29 acres of a public-private partnership to become a catalyst for east Charlotte.
The development at the eastern end of Central Avenue for the time being will be called The Complex.
“I’ve been on council almost seven years, and this is something that’s been a topic we haven’t been able to address in the past ten years,” council member Dimple Ajmera said. “This is the closest we have been to bring a catalyst to the east side that deserves a catalyst, and that’s going to bring jobs and opportunities. I’m excited we’re finally going to be able to deliver.”
Charlotte Economic Development Director Tracy Dodson says this new vision fulfills a vision as a recreational anchor. The plan now includes the following:
- 120,000-square-foot indoor sports facility. The multi-purpose courts can be converted to 10 basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, 30 pickleball courts, turf
- Outdoor amenities include six multi-sport artificial turf fields.
- STEM Education/Esports Center
- One ice rink
- Food and beverage concessions, bar, restaurants, fitness center
In addition to recreational opportunities, the property also could be used for festivals.
QC East was focused on outdoor facilities and esports, while Eastland Yards proposed indoor athletics.
Council member Majorie Molina, representing the area, applauded the two groups for coming together to benefit the east Charlotte community.
“We have two completely divergent ideas; under these circumstances, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of two people competing for the same slot,” she said. “I am cautiously optimistic. I absolutely look forward to there being a wonderful outcome for all parties. “
The city agreed in June to invest $30 million in the site. Economic development’s assistance director Todd DeLong said it will generate $169 million in total annual economic impact. That includes 126,000 room nights per year, more than 500 jobs supported, and workforce development programming.
The Complex will not have a hotel or amphitheater, though Dodson said pieces could potentially be added. Council member LaWana Mayfield suggested adding special transit for larger events since there are few lodging options nearby and no rail system currently in place from uptown.
“We already know when we have our current sporting events, how quickly locations in uptown for apartments, other things are filling up,” Mayfield said. “It will be helpful when you bring back the information where we anticipate that these room nights are going. We don’t necessarily have a transportation system to get you from uptown over to the east side for these events.”
The project is the second piece to an overall property. Developer Crosland Southeast broke ground in August 2022 for various housing, retail, and a county park on an 80-acre tract.
“We’re taking the best of both worlds to combine them for one project for Eastland,” Council member Malcolm Graham said. “Crosland Southeast is out doing the work since last August. Work has been commencing for well over a year. In some cases, it may be more important.”
DeLong said the next steps will be getting into details of the financial structure of the agreement and understanding infrastructure improvements. He hopes the next update will come before the holidays.
“There are a number of details we have to work through,” DeLong said. “Cost is part of it.”
Council member James “Smuggie” Mitchell suggested letting the community vote on a permanent name.
Tariq Bokhari is a partner on the QC East team and, therefore, did not comment.