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Eastland falling as film meetings start

Demolition has been going on at the old mall for weeks, as Studio Charlotte Development starts meeting with the city

CHARLOTTE – Peter Zeiler can’t get too excited about the demolition of Eastland Mall.

“It’s just a demolition,” said Zeiler, development and investment manager for the city of Charlotte, who said his phone has been ringing off the hook with people asking about Eastland. “It’s going to take six months. It’s mind-numbingly dull.”

The demolition itself may be procedural, but as the walls fall on a mall that was once one of the most popular shopping destinations in the city, it’s not hard to picture the transition from debris to development.

The city is now one step closer to that possible development, as it held the first meeting on Wednesday with Studio Charlotte Development to discuss the company’s proposal to build a film studio complex on the 80-acre Central Avenue site.

Bert Hesse, the CEO of Studio Charlotte Development, said Tuesday he anticipated  the initial meeting being a glorified meet-and-greet, with both sides trying to get a feel for the other.

“We’ll be talking about what our goals are and what we already know about what the city wants and what we want,” he said. “We’ll be putting forth some deadlines tomorrow.”

Zeiler said it will take a number of meetings between the two parties before they can reach an agreement, if an agreement is to be reached. The city may still decide not to enter into an agreement with Studio Charlotte, he said.

“We don’t have a whole lot of details in terms of exact numbers from them,” Zeiler said. “I can’t say that we have any deal breakers or anything that we think is the perfect idea either.

“The first meeting is going to be an organizational meeting about how we’re going to approach the next six months.”

Demolition started about two weeks ago, with interior demolition and asbestos abatement starting first, and is set to last six months, Zeiler said. Environmental Holdings Group, out of Raleigh, is the demolition firm working on Eastland.

Hesse said he’s hoping the negotiations don’t last six months, and said he’s still holding out for the chance that Studio Charlotte can break ground on its massive studio project before the end of the year.

“It’s still a possibility that we could start (before the end of the year) and we’re going to look at the timeline,” he said. “The demolition of the mall will still be going on, but there are a lot of different ways to get started.”

Studio Charlotte’s $300 million plan comprises a 30- to 40-acre film studio and film-education complex; 137,500 square feet of retail; and 66,500 square feet of office space. Later stages of the plan include apartments. Hesse has previously said his development would take around five years from start to finish.


Charlotte City Council Citizen Forum Oct. 7

CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte City Council met Monday evening for its monthly citizen forum, in which the council hears presentations and gets information on city issues that are likely to come up before the council again in the future.

At Monday’s meeting, the council heard a number of presentations on issues ranging from a Real Time Crime Center to a federal legislative update to a cultural life task force.

But those topics were purely informational and only one issue on the agenda Monday included a directive from the council: passenger vehicle hire and digital dispatching services.

The city of Charlotte has a Passenger Vehicle for Hire Ordinance that regulates companies, vehicles and drivers; and subjects those individuals to background checks, drug screenings, fines and revocation of permits. Enforcement is conducted through the Passenger Vehicle For Hire Office and the Police Department, according to the city.

But city officials have found that digital dispatching services such as Hailo, Uber, UberX, Lyft, Sidecar and others have or could commence operations in the city. None of these internet-based companies is headquartered in N.C. or in the Charlotte metropolitan area.

The city isn’t clear on if these companies follow the guidelines laid out in the city’s ordinance on passenger vehicles for hire. For this reason, the council has directed the city’s Community Safety Committee study this topic.

Once the committee has studied this issue, it will come back in front of the council for them to determine if these companies need to be better regulated. The date of the future meeting has yet to be determined.

Huntersville Board of Commissioners Meeting Oct. 7

HUNTERSVILLE  – Bowman Development Group can add 51 new single-family lots to Valencia, part of theCharlotte-based company’s hugely successful Vermillion subdivision, thanks to two unanimous land-use actions taken Monday by the Huntersville Board of Commissioners.

In one action, the board rezoned nearly 15 acres off Holbrooks Road adjacent to David B. Waymer Flying Field from transitional residential to a conditional neighborhood residential classification. That allows the development of 36 small and medium lots on and near the parcel.

The board also approved a sketch plan revision requested by the Bowman Group, headed by Nate and Robert Bowman, that adds 15 larger lots to an 11.5-acre tract on Vanguard Parkway.

Coming up…

Town of Fairview, Union County:  7 p.m., Monday, Town Hall

  • Public hearing on conditional use permit for G&S Floral Supply to operate a floral supply warehouse at 8002 Concord Highway, Monroe.

Town of Matthews, Mecklenburg County: 7 p.m., Monday, Town Hall

  • Public hearing on Unified Development Ordinance, which was drafted in order to meet the town’s vision for development and redevelopment. It includes changes, refinements and definitions for standards and requirements of development, construction and renovation.
  • Public hearing on Proffitt Dixon Partners’ request to rezone 15 acres at the southeast corner of N.C. Highway 51 and Northeast Parkway from suburban shopping center  to allow up to 250 apartments with some retail/office space.


Town of Weddington, Union County: 7 p.m., Monday, Weddington High School Auditorium, 4901 Monroe-Weddington Road, Matthews.

  • Public hearing to review and consider conditional zoning permit for Union County elevated water storage tank.

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