by: Jim Bradley Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
After a visit to a major film studio, the city of Charlotte says it's still looking seriously at whether the movies should play a part in the future of the former Eastland Mall property.
For two years, Eastland Mall has been a boarded-up eyesore that speaks volumes about the decline that continues to define the city's east side for people like Ebony Hall.
“It's nothing,” Hall said.
“Make you kind of sad?” Eyewitness News asked.
“Yeah,” she said.
But suggestions that Eastland be transformed into a movie studio have gotten a boost.
Peter Zeiller was part of a city delegation that visited Wilmington this month to see its booming film industry.
“There wasn't a reason for us to say, ‘No, film does not work in Charlotte.’ ‘No, studio doesn’t work in Charlotte.’ We got a lot of really good ideas and good reasons why we should continue moving forward,” Zeiller said.
The city is now asking film studio developers for their ideas for how they would turn Eastland into a movie studio.
Those ideas are expected in November. And John Autry, who represents the east side on City Council, said that input could make or break any deal.
“Before we get too far down the path, find out is there enough expressed interest in this property for this use at this time,” Autry said.
But after years of watching Eastland deteriorate, Autry wants to believe in a Hollywood ending.
“For the successful revitalization of the east side, having a going industrial concern like the film industry going on over there is vital,” Autry said.
The city has already spent $13 million this year to acquire the Eastland property.
A web page has been created to keep the public informed of the city’s redevelopment efforts. Click here to visit it.