by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
An old shopping center in east Charlotte is getting a major makeover and some community leaders believe it is a big step forward for the area.
The renovations at Four Seasons Plaza shopping center come as the City of Charlotte also works to close the deal purchasing nearby Eastland Mall.
The city's Neighborhood and Business Services department has a facade grant program it is using for the project, matching the developer's investment of $175,000.
When it comes to improvements in the area, some residents have said they are few and far between.
"It's slow," Jason Freeman said. But he has noticed the start of some improvements at the plaza.
"The first thing I've seen is a new sign at the Family Dollar," he said.
It's a sign of more improvements to come.
The center's developer, The Neighborhood Revitalization Group, is adding metal awnings; repainting and repairing store fronts; adding wheelchair ramps; installing islands with trees; taking down old signs; and adding a new monument sign.
City employees working with the developer call it an excellent investment.
"When we look at the dollar investment compared to what the long-term benefits are going to be to this community, then you really understand this money is going to go a long way," said Christopher Hemans, Business Corridor Recruiter with the City of Charlotte.
"It's been needed for, I would say, at least the last 20 years," said Darrell Bonapart, Vice-Chairman of Charlotte East Community Partners.
He said the project, coupled with the city's recent decision to buy Eastland Mall, shows the city is committed to the East side.
He hopes it will attract new businesses and residents.
"It shows some very positive signs of us coming back to the east Charlotte that we once knew," he said.
The Neighborhood Revitalization Group expects to wrap up work in the next few weeks. Officials said they plan to schedule a ribbon-cutting event in late September or early October.