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ARK Ventures withdraws from Eastland Mall redevelopment

CHARLOTTE – The plot for the future of Eastland Mall just got a lot less dramatic, as one of the two development groups vying for the 80-acre site pulled out of city consideration.

ARK Ventures withdrew its proposal for Eastland Mall. Meck TImes file photo

ARK Ventures withdrew its Eastland Mall proposal. Meck TImes file photo

Charlotte-based ARK Ventures, which developed the N.C. Music Factory, on Tuesday informed the city that the company no longer wished to be considered for the planned redevelopment of the former mall on Central Avenue.

ARK had planned to bring a $154 million recreation and entertainment complex to the site, which included an artificial ski slope and a skate park. Later phases of the plan called for a small film studio and some residential development.

In an email to the city, Noah Lazes, president of the ARK Group, said, “We feel it is in everyone’s best interest not to force the City Council and staff to make a decision, as we do not believe that the alternate proposal is feasible.”

The alternate proposal Lazes mentioned is the plan by Studio Charlotte Development, a $300 million project that would include an up to 40-acre film studio, film school, office complex and also some residential. Bert Hesse is the CEO of Studio Charlotte Development.

The Charlotte City Council’s Economic Development Committee met Thursday to discuss the Studio Charlotte proposal, with the intention of approving a recommendation to the full council for action at the August 26. This edition went to press before the results of the committee meeting were available.

Peter Zeiler, the city’s development and investment manager, said he expects the Economic Development Committee to approve the recommendation, but said it’s possible for the city to reject the film-studio proposal and continue to seek a development partner at Eastland Mall.

If approved, Studio Charlotte will still need a full-council vote before it can start negotiating with the city. Zeiler said the negotiation process could take up to six months.

If the proposal is rejected, Lazes said in his email that ARK Ventures is still interested in working with the city on the Eastland Mall redevelopment.

“If after a full evaluation of the other proposal the city decides that they would like to engage in exclusive discussions with our group, please do not hesitate to contact us,” Lazes said.

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