As Eastland development approaches, open-air market lease set to expire

CHARLOTTE — For more than five years, people have coming been coming to the old Eastland Mall site to buy just about anything at the open-air market. But the east Charlotte plot of land is being redeveloped and soon the market will have to shut down.

[‘It’s a long time coming’: City of Charlotte files plans for old Eastland Mall site]

A spokesperson for the city of Charlotte said the current lease will come to an end on Aug. 31. There may be an opportunity to extend beyond that date if the city is not yet ready to prepare the site for development. The extension would likely be limited to 30 days.

“Over the last five-plus years, the city has worked with the open-air market to be able to maximize use out of a vacant property while also supporting small businesses in our community,” a spokesperson for the city said. “Throughout that time, the city has signed and renewed one-year leases with the market manager to continue allowing them to use the property while it’s remained vacant. Now that construction work will soon begin taking place at the property, the market will need to move to a new location -- a fact that we’ve been very transparent about with the market operator. We have enjoyed this partnership with the market and we are happy that so many residents of east Charlotte have been able to come together and support so many small businesses.”

The manager for the open-air market told Channel 9′s sister station Telemundo that the market may move to Albemarle. He cited high land costs as a barrier to keeping the market in Charlotte.

Vendor Alejandra Garcia arrives at Eastland every Saturday and Sunday at 5 a.m. to set up. She has been doing this more than five years as her main source of income. She said the market helps thousands of east Charlotte residents have access to fresh food, vegetables and goods. She’s hoping the city will help find a new location for it.

“The flea market is a culture. It is family time. This is why everyone continues to do it,” she said. “You can find whatever you need.”

[Old Eastland Mall site will be home to city’s MLS headquarters, practice facility]

In 2020, the Charlotte City Council signed off on a major project for Eastland that will include Charlotte FC’s Elite Academy headquarters, an Atrium Health facility, restaurants, housing and retail.