CHARLOTTE — A west Charlotte strip mall will be resurrected.
Once described as an “open-air drug market” and seized by the federal government, the mall is now under new ownership. There’s a plan in place to turn the spot into an asset to the community.
Some neighbors told Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz it’s a necessary change, but one they would’ve liked to be involved in.
- ‘Open-air drug market’: Feds may seize crime-ridden strip mall in west Charlotte
- City agrees to purchase west Charlotte strip mall described as ‘open-air drug market’
- 9 Investigates: Feds step up property grab tactic to tackle crime in Charlotte
Rickey Hall is the chair of the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition.
“It’s home. My roots are here,” he said.
The West Boulevard Corridor matters deeply to Hall, who is also a lifelong resident.
“This is a significant spot,” he said.
The strip mall, located just off the intersection of Remount Road and West Boulevard, hasn’t been known as a safe spot.
Channel 9 previously reported that the shopping center was the site of 14 shootings within four years. We’ve also covered several deadly shootings there, including one where residents heard five shots before the victim died at the scene.
In 2022, the feds seized the property, calling it an “open-air drug market.” Later, the city got the land.
Today, it’s fenced off -- Old, vacant businesses are now boarded up just beyond the tape that often surrounded them.
“It created an eyesore and problem spot,” Hall said.
It’s why Hall and others have been focused on the area.
“Residents have wanted change and have worked for change, and have actually set forth visions for change,” he said.
That change will come from a developer. The City of Charlotte recently sold all of the land for half a million dollars to developer Lambert Commercial Real Estate, with high hopes for the future.
“That’s not the way to do it,” Hall said.
He said residents should have been brought to the table before the sale.
“If the community is there at the table, then it becomes a community benefit because the community would have had say so,” he said.
He’s as hopeful to be heard as he is of what the place may become -- A potential pillar of prosperity in a corridor often left behind, in a city moving forward.
“I always have to be optimistic,” Hall said.
The developer can’t comment on any plans just yet, but they do plan to meet with the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition at least three times and welcome all ideas residents have.
Some residents would like to see housing on top with small businesses below, but the details remain to be seen.
(PREVIOUS: ‘Open-air drug market’: Feds may seize crime-ridden strip mall in west Charlotte)
©2023 Cox Media Group