Charlotte city leaders are moving forward with plans to turn Eastland Mall into film studios, but refuse to give their full blessing yet.
City leaders called Studio Charlotte's plan "dynamic," "compelling" and "robust." It pictures a massive movie village, complete with sound stages, a film school and housing for production crews.
But city leaders want to know what taxpayers will be on the hook for.
"How much is the ask? And we need to make sure we are protecting taxpayer dollars of the ask," said Councilman James Mitchell Jr.
They decided to keep talking with Studio Charlotte exclusively over the next six months, but are still holding off on cutting a deal. That's not quite the commitment Studio Charlotte was hoping for.
"I feel we've been dating for over a year. I spent almost a million dollars on dating the city of Charlotte ... Are you telling me we're going to get engaged with the potential to get married? Or you still want six more months of holding hands?" said owner Bert Hesse.
Still, he told WSOC this commitment is better than nothing, and that he won't shop around for another site in the meantime.
"We're not interested in other locations," he said.
City leaders hope to work out a deal before the end of the year, before the next council takes office.
Meanwhile, another issue is looming. If the state doesn't extend film tax credits, Studio Charlotte said its plan is "dead." But the group and city leaders plan to lobby the state when the time comes next spring.