WSOC now knows two companies' competing plans for Eastland Mall.
Bert Hesse runs Studio Charlotte Development and pictures a movie village out there, complete with a 30- to 40-acre movie studio, 108 hotel rooms, 125 homes, about 200,000 square feet of event space and shopping, a film school, preschool, mentoring, counseling and college prep for teens. SCD says projects like this "typically require public funding," but Hesse says he will not ask the city for cash. He said, "Oh, it can work. There's no doubt about it. The film industry is a huge industry."
The other company, ARK Ventures, the same one that developed the N.C. Music Factory, says it would turn Eastland into a "vibrant, mixed use project .. .with entertainment/sports, office, residential, retail and education" components. ARK pictures a 60,000-square-foot film studio, a ski slope, a skateboard park, a wave pool, an ice rink, ball fields and a continuing ed center. When it comes to asking for tax dollars, ARK says it's hard to build a project this size "without some city and/or county funding sources and/or tax credits," but isn't giving a dollar figure yet.
WSOC showed Brian and Paula Singh the two plans. They own Brothers Caribbean Cuisine Restaurant near Eastland. They said, "Either one would work ... it needs something here. It's just a waste. Good space." They say anything is better than nothing.
Now, city staff will go through the proposals with an outside consultant. They'll share their thoughts with City Council members next month.