Charlotte city leaders are torn whether to spend tax dollars on an eyesore the city doesn't own anymore.
The developer, The Community Builders, says Mecklenburg Mill in NoDa is in worse shape than it thought. Its structural engineer, Tom Goodwin, said, "We saw beams actually fall to the floor, columns disintegrate."
So TCB thinks the city should pitch in $2.4 million to the project, twice what it paid the city for the site. The way TCB sees it, the city still has a vested interest in the eyesore. It wants to help NoDa and build low-income housing, especially there, near a future LYNX station. Rob Fossi said, "This is a moment in time to make NoDa mills renovation a reality after years of failed efforts."
People who live near there want the city to write the check. Hollis Nixon said, "I know the mills seems [like] a headache. Trust me. No entity is more fatigued about these buildings than those in NoDa."
But other taxpayers don't. Jay Privette said, "This is just going to be one of many more requests from monies that come down the road."
City leaders warned TCB, if they hand over the $2.4 million, not to ask for more later. Council member Claire Fallon asked Fossi, "Are you aware that that's it. There's no more to come?" He said, "Yes, ma'am."
Still, many on council feel they spent years trying to unload the site and thought they were through with it. Council member Michael Barnes said, "My whole goal was to get rid of the property and we did, used our RFP process, you guys won, and, as far as I was concerned, we were done."
They voted to think about this for two more weeks.
Keep in mind, there are two mills there. The other one, Johnston Mill, may also have problems, but TCB promises not to come back and ask the city for help with that.