by: Andrew Doud Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Metal fences now surround Eastland Mall and piles of debris have been stacked up in the parking lot. The beginning of a seven- to eight-month demolition process is underway.
Not every piece of the mall is being destroyed. Demolition crews carefully worked to save four of these original signs.
"I think it's really important to the east side to have these signs located on the east side just as a reminder," said Charlotte Mayor Patsy Kinsey.
Where these signs will go in the community is still being worked out, as are plans with what to do with the 80-acre property once the mall is gone.
"We've got retail that has been in decline we have housing values that need to be stabilized. What happens at Eastland Mall is important," said Brad Richardson, Charlotte economic development manager.
Richardson said right now the city has six months to work with a developer on what to do with the property.
He says the current vision includes retail and office space -- along with housing -- all anchored by a movie studio complex.
"It's an exciting vision. What our job is as a staff is to give good information to the council so they can make an informed decision about the project of whether this is the right development deal and weather this is the right time to do that," Richardson said.
But he says even if the project gets the go ahead -- there is no definitive timetable for when new construction on this site will begin.
"A lot of it is market driven. So I think I temper the communities expectations -- there's some financing to be sought, there's some planning to be done. So I don't think you'll see new construction starting as soon as demolition is complete," Richardson said.
He and others in the community agree whatever goes here is critical to an ongoing redevelopment effort in the area.