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Posted: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012
By Allison Latos
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
New ideas for Charlotte's closed-down Eastland Mall could transform the east section of the city.
Resident McDonald Parker said he remembers shopping at the mall. Now, he catches a bus to spend his money elsewhere.
Residents and city leaders like Councilman John Autry call the empty buildings a “black eye.”
"I think that's a lot of blight for an already challenged community," Autry said.
A grassroots effort by a development group, Civic By Design, has big ideas for the 90 acres.
"Our idea is to create more of a traditional town square, which is the trend of what people are really looking for today," said Tom Low of Civic By Design.
Low said development trends are shifting, from places geared towards drivers, to shopping centers that appeal to more pedestrians.
Low wants to see the parking lot transformed from concrete to a green space like the area in Midtown Charlotte, which has a walking trail near a creek.
According to Low, there is a creek that runs around the mall property.
Autry believes getting the ideas off the ground would bring benefits beyond East Charlotte.
He said he has spoken to people interested in developing the area, but they cannot get funding.
Autry wants the property owner, Boxer Property, of Texas, to either work on development or sell it.
Boxer Property put the mall on the market in February 2011.
Calls and emails for an update on the company's plans were not returned on Thursday.
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