The city bought the closed mall for $13.2 million in 2012 and, a year later, demolished the vacant buildings. It encompasses 80 acres, with 11 occupied by a K-8 language academy public school opened last year.
On Thursday, Sittema said one-on-one and small-group meetings with residents and other stakeholders in recent months led the developers to outline five main priorities for developing the site. The priorities consist of:
- Building soccer fields and other sports and recreation areas.
- Providing green space with trails, gathering places and pavilions suitable for community events and concerts.
- Developing a variety of housing at prices higher than what the market in east Charlotte currently would allow. The idea, Sittema said, is to compete with neighborhoods such as Plaza Midwood and NoDa, bringing in some new residents who will help spur demand for related development. Sittema mentioned townhouses in the low-$200,000s and some single-family homes in the $400,000 range along with other price points. “We’re not going to build vinyl-sided tract homes at the lowest price,” he said.
- Ensuring an active, pedestrian-friendly and safe environment with an activity hub such as a public plaza.
- Bringing jobs and convenience to the area and its residents with higher-quality shopping while also bringing in and creating restaurants that celebrate the east side’s international influence and diversity of cuisines.
Details are soon to come for a planned, large-scale community meeting on June 19 as city planners and the Crosland-Odell team continue to gather information and insight on what people want most on the Eastland property. The site is considered vital to boosting the east side, where household income lags the county average by 43%.