CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The former Eastland Mall site is being eyed as a potential home to Charlotte's Major League Soccer team headquarters and practice facility, a source with direct knowledge of the city's negotiations told Channel 9.
News of the city and the Carolina Panthers' interest in the Eastland mall site was first reported by Channel 9's news partners the Charlotte Business Journal.
The city of Charlotte owns 69 acres of Eastland in east Charlotte. The city is working with Crosland Southeast to develop the property.
A message to Crosland Southeast has not been returned.
A soccer component has been in the works for the Eastland site. When the project was originally presented to the Charlotte City Council in 2018, the developer pitched a possible FC Barcelona Soccer Academy. In June at an Eastland forum, the development team said there is mutual interest between them and FC Barcelona to bring a soccer academy to Eastland but nothing has been signed and there are talks underway with other soccer academies.
Channel 9 reported last month that the city of Charlotte gave city staff members consent to open talks with Panthers owner David Tepper and the Panthers to provide funding to renovate Bank of America Stadium for an MLS team. A hard cost is not available, but sources estimate it will be in the $100 to $200 million range.
The funding would come from the city's tourism fund which cannot be used for affordable housing and roads. Sources said potential changes to Bank of America Stadium include creating a middle entrance to the field for players and two new soccer-specific locker rooms.
The Charlotte City Council is expected to have another closed session briefing this month with a possible vote before the new City Council is sworn in.
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