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Anchored down: Developer says failure to obtain stores would mean ‘much different project’ (access required)

By Tara Ramsey Charlotte’s Eastland Mall sold last month for $2 million, a purchase price well below the $54 million it fetched just 12 years ago. That might make it seem like a no-brainer buy for an investor. But experts say four empty anchor stores not included in the sale could create major challenges to redeveloping the mall, which was shuttered June 30 after Houston-based Boxer Property Management Corp. bought it. The anchor stores — Belk, Dillard’s, Sears and Burlington Coat Factory (formerly J.C. Penney) — account for more than 45 acres of retail space. When Boxer purchased the 512,000-square-foot heart of the mall, those properties were not included. According to some, Boxer’s redevelopment could be hindered if it fails to gain control of at least some of those properties.

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